Open Leuven day 3: two missed chances

I didn’t manage to keep the pace in rounds 4 and 5. As a result, I made two draws against lower-rated, but solid players. That means I will have to perform in the last two rounds, which are played today.

In round 4 I played as White against Benjamin Decrop (2136) and I got a slight edge out of the opening which gradually became somewhat more tangible. However, at a crucial moment, when play got sharp, I hesitated and went for a dull, equal position instead of a complicated, but better position. Benjamin defended accurately with a draw as a result.

My game in round 5 against Oleg Iolis (2213) was one were the advantage switched a couple of times from one side to the other. In the end we were heading for a razor sharp endgame where every move did count. The level of play in the endgame was quite high, until move 44.

Oleg Iolis (2213) – Koen Leenhouts (2413)

Here, I felt the most logical outcome of the game would be a draw. However, Oleg’s next move did feel like a blunder 44. Rh2? Being low on time, I tried to calculate as many lines as I could, but I wasn’t quite able to work out everything behind the board. I chose 44… Kc5? missing my chance, as 44…Ka5! would have been winning. The point is that after 45. Ra2, I have 45…Ka4 and the b-pawn is about to be pushed all the way. I was a bit afraid to put my king far away from the e-pawn, but unrightly so. In the game Oleg played 45. Ra2 and after my a-pawn was traded for his e-pawn, we reached a drawn endgame.

In round 6, I will play against tournament surprise Jorden Bratuszewski (2034) who despite a moderate elo, is playing impressively. Up til now he only lost half a point against GM Alexandre Dgebuadze, so he should definitely not be underestimated. The tournament can be followed here: