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9. The Zambezi Shark bites
(1) Rothuis - Ziska [A45]

Amon Simutowe, who in his home country - where his achievements are enthusiastically followed - is called the 'Zambezi Shark', has held his own quite comfortably against Dibyendu Barua as well. A 'plus-draw' brought him tournament victory today. He tried for more for quite a while when he got the chance, since he still has to reach 2500 Elo for the grandmaster title.

Simutowe - Barua

White threatens to trap the black knight, so Barua is forced to give a pawn: 45...b6 After 45...Nb2? 46.Kc3 Na4+ 47.Kb4 Nb2 48.Be2 Kd5 49.Kb3 the knight is caught; and 45...h6!? 46.Kc4! Kd7 47.Kb4 b5 48.Bd1 Nb2 49.Bc2 is also bad for Black. 46.cxb6 Nxb6 47.Bxc6 Kd6 48.Bb7 Kc7

49.Bd5 Simutowe thought for a while if he couldn't win with 49.Ke5 Kxb7 50.Kxf5 Kc6 51.Ke6, but he renounced this already during the game. The three white pawns are not so strong and after 51...Nd5 52.f5 Nf4+ 53.Kf7 Nxh3 54.Kg7 h5 55.f6 Nf4 56.f7 Ne6+ 57.Kf6! White is the one who has to fight for a draw - he can reach the g5-square just in time. After 49...Kd6 there are no winning chances left, because White has the wrong-coloured bishop in all respects. The draw was agreed after some 35 more moves.

Puchen Wang rounded off a good final sprint with a victory over his rival Nona Gaprindashvili. The struggle was actually already decided in the opening.

Wang - Gaprindashvili

With his last move 10.Qd2 White has prevented Black's kingside castling, and queenside castling is also hard to carry through because the a7 pawn is hanging. Gaprindashvili decides to take immediate action in the centre. 10...d5!? 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.d4

The notorious 'nerve block' (at least that's what it's called in Holland…). The general rule is: whoever takes first, loses. Gaprindashvili sacrifices a pawn for nebulous compensation: 12...Nbc6!? 13.dxe5 Nxe5 13...dxe4 14.Qxd7+ Bxd7 seems bearable. 14.exd5 Bf5 15.Nd4 0-0 16.0-0 Not 16.Bxh6?? Nd3+. 16...Bh3 17.Bxh6 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Bxh6 19.Qxh6 Nxd5 20.Ne4

If in the previous diagram we had a nerve block, perhaps we should call this a 'stress square'. Each knight move has great consequences. 20...Ng4?! In the post mortem the players took a long look at 20...Rfe8 21.Qg5! and now Black turns out to have the swindle 21...Nd3!, e.g. 22.f3 N3f4+! 23.gxf4 Ne3+ 24.Kh1 Rxe4 25.fxe4 Nxf1 26.Rxf1 Qxd4 and Black holds. The players preferred 20...Rac8, but after 21.Rad1 Qg4 22.Rfe1 White seems to be doing fine. 21.Qg5 Rfe8 22.Nc5! Overlooked by Gaprindashvili. This move gives White a winning advantage. 22...Qe7 23.Qxd5 Rad8 24.Qc4 Ne5 25.Qc3 Rc8

26.Nde6!? A quite elegant move that earned appreciation by Gaprindashvili. Easier would have been 26.Ndb3! b6 27.f4 Ng4 28.Rae1 and Black cannot well maintain the pin, for example 28...Qd6 29.Qf3! After 26...fxe6 White liquidated to a winning endgame where a black mistake on move 35 decided the issue prematurely.

With some melancholy regret we say goodbye, of course to all the foreign players who came from so far, but also to Vincent Rothuis, who has given this tournament so much colour. Things didn't go his way in Arnhem, but his play shows the greatness of a champion. We will hear more from him. Alas, in the final round he again had to yield the point to his opponent, giving Helgi Dam Ziska a quite pleasant final day.


Rothuis - Ziska

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bh4 g5 4.f3 gxh4 5.fxe4 All well-known theory, but of course also very much in the spirit of Rothuis's hyper-adventurous opening play throughout this tournament. 5...c5 6.Nc3!? cxd4 7.Qxd4 Rg8

8.Qf2!? Ziska didn't trust 6.Nc3 already, although Rothuis told him that Mamedyarov had played 8.e5 and 9.Ne4 against Van Wely in this line. So the text is new. Ziska was glad with it: 'Now I get a very strong bishop on g7.' 8...Lg7 9.Dxh4 Da5 10.Dg3 White would like to play 10.Qxh7, but here that is impossible in view of 10...Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qxc3+ 12.Kf2 Rh8. 10...Nc6 11.Nh3?! Ziska thought that 11.Qd3 was the only move here and gave the line 11...Nb4!? (after 11...d6 White can continue with 12.e3) 12.Qd2 Bh6 13.Qxh6 Nxc2+ 14.Kd1 Nxa1 15.Pf3 b5!, but the position remains playable for White after 16.Qxh7 Rf8 17.Qf5.

11...d5! 12.exd5 Nb4 13.Kd1 The players looked at 13.Nf4 Nxc2+ 14.Kd1 Nxa1 15.Nh5 Kf8 16.Nxg7 Rxg7 17.Qd3 and now, again, 17...b5!, e.g. 18.Qxb5 (18.Nxb5 Ba6) 18...Qxb5 19.Nxb5 Rb8 20.Nxa7 Bf5 etc. 13...Nxd5 14.e4 Bg4+!

An attractive final move. Rothuis resigned immediately. Ziska had calculated the following: 15.Ne2 Ne3+! 16.Qxe3 0-0-0+ 17.Kc1 Qe1 mate, and 15.Be2 Nxc3+ 16.bxc3 0-0-0+.

As was to be expected, the two 72-year-olds did not hurt each other any more. Fridrik Olafsson had wanted to play the Panno Variation of the King's Indian to pay honour to his opponent, but it didn't come about. The draw was quick, and in the remaining hours Panno could be found analysing with all the other players, giving wise counsel to the young regional players who took it all in thankfully.

Chess coach Willy Hendriks had no time for this, since he was given quite a hard time by Bianca Muhren in a rook endgame with a pawn less. This time it ended well for him. 'I had planned to gain a technical win today', the master from the nearby town of Didam said. 'That's why I refused Bianca's draw offer. But then I blundered a pawn. I proceeded according to plan with my potential passede b-pawn, but then I lost the a4 pawn and had to go all out for the draw.' And after many hours he succeeded in the longest game of the day.