The final day of a tournament is always a bit tense, but in Leuven the last round was really unpredictable and the outcome was quite surprising.
My goal was to end the tournament with two good games and in the end I think I succeeded. I won in round 6 against tournament surprise Bratuszewski and I drew in round 7 against tournament favourite Dgebuadze to finish on a score of 5.5 out of 7. The results of the other boards were such, that in the end 12 players finished on shared first place with 5.5 out of 7. I have never experienced before that a tournament was won by such a large group. Let’s take a short look at my game in round 6.
Koen Leenhouts (2413) – Jorden Bratuszewski (2034)
In the opening I had sacrificed a pawn and in this position I have decent compensation, but nothing is clear yet. After a move like 16…Qc7 Black has no big problems. Instead Jorden blundered with 16…Qb6? which led to immediate disaster after my strong 17.Nc5! Nxc5 18.Bxb4 winning material with a superior structure as well. In this tournament I grabbed the chances that were presented to me quite well and this already is a small step in the right direction. I was also happy with my opening play which was problematic this summer as I described in here
In the final round I was paired against Alexandre Dgebuadze with the black pieces. On the one hand, I was happy with this pairing as it gave me a chance to play against a strong player. On the other hand, looking at the tournament standings, playing with black against the number one seed was not the best pairing possible. Seven players shared first place before this last round and winning seemed almost mandatory to get a chance for first place and a nice prize. I played quite well and held myself when I was under slight pressure. One move before the end, I missed a good chance to get an advantage, but unfortunately, I chose the wrong move order. A draw was agreed after a repetition of moves and as the other leaders drew as well and a lot of players caught up with us, there were 12 winners. In the end, Sim Maerevoet was deservedly first on tiebreak, whereas I ended in third place.
It was nice to play a small tournament again and I was satisfied with my play. Next up are league games in the Dutch and Belgian team competition. Let’s hope to continue the good form.