Guimaraes Open rounds 2 and 3: a mediocre start (English)

Before round 2 I took a picture of this cat  and that clearly brought bad luck. After my opponent made a mistake in the opening, I was already quickly winning. However, I didn’t play very well afterwards and it gradually went downhill until a loss was inevitable. A disappointing result. In round 3 I was able to recover with a quick win. The task for the coming rounds is clear: win a lot and hope to get back on the higher boards as quickly as possible.

I played in round 2 against a Portuguese youngster with the beautiful name Pedro Gil Ferreira Da Silva. In the opening he mixed up two variations, which gave me a commanding position. I didn’t choose the most practical way to convert, which made it more difficult than necessary. After move 13 this was the position:

Koen Leenhouts (2414) – Pedro Gil Ferreira Da Silva (2118)

White is better. He has the pair of bishops and the black king is a bit unsafe. I calculated  14. e4 Nb4 15. Rb1 for a long time, but found nothing convincing after 15…Rb8. In youth I would have been undoubtedly in favor for 14. e4 Nb4 15. Bxc4! after which Black must take the rook 15…Nc2+ 16. Ke2 Nxa1 17. Rd1+

In this line, which is not that difficult to find, the black monarch finds no safe haven and it would not have taken many more moves to bring in the point. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it or misjudged it; in any case, in the first diagram I played the hesitant 14. a3 after which Black could consolidate and I had some problems developing the pieces. Several times I didn’t find  the right idea and around move 30 the problems became insurmountable:

Black to move can win in several ways, but my opponent chose the most convincing one: 31…Nxf3! 32. Rxh4 Rb1! and there was nothing left for me to do but resign.

In a large field like this it takes a few rounds to repair the damage from a loss and in the evening round I just had to win. That worked out well.

Gonzalo Bastos Gonzalez (1795) – Koen Leenhouts (2414)

My young Spanish opponent has just played 15. f3 and that was, in an already difficult position, not the best move. After 15…Nxh2! White’s position collapses.

Of our group of four, Thibaut still has the maximum of the points and today he will have a tough game against the young Indian grandmaster Gukesh. Glen played in round 3 on board 1 against GM Hans Niemann, got a great position, but didn’t play accurately enough, so he unfortunately lost. Tom quietly marches to the top boards and now has 2.5 out of 3.

Today there are again two games, so there is a lot to be won and a lot to be lost.

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