Open Leuven Day 1

First rounds are always a bit tough. There usually is a big difference in rating and still the lower rated players often manage to put up a lot of resistance. I arrived in Leuven a few hours before the game after a long ride with a lot of traffic on the road. My hotel is located in the beautiful centre of Leuven and the playing hall is only 700 metres away. Unfortunately, the weather is far from great with lots of rain, which makes strolling through the city a lot less attractive.

I won my first game rather convincingly when my opponent blundered an important pawn away in a position which was already pleasant for me. Today, there are two rounds, so let’s see whether I can keep the pace going.

Sofya Blanter (1798) – Koen Leenhouts (2413)

I have just played 19…Qb6. White is facing some pressure. The knight on b3 is a bit loose and she has to reckon with moves like …a4 followed by capturing with the queen on b2. Furthermore, I threaten to play …Nxf3+. If White then takes this knight with her queen, I can take the knight on b3. Sofya tried to prevent this by going 20.Kg2? but after 20… Nxf3! the pawn on f3 is lost anyway, as 21.Kxf3 would me bet by 21…Bg4+ winning the queen. Losing this f3-pawn was way more than white’s position could handle and the rest was a matter of technique.

Today, and Sunday and Monday as well, we play two games. Unfortunately, there are no live games, but the tournament can be followed here: http://leuvencentraal.be/openleuven/paringen-open-leuven/