''…it was a pleasant experience and I hope there is more to come…''
Anish on Dutch Championship 2011 with his annotations
The tournament was held in a city of Boxtel and due to lack of geographical knowledge I can hardly elaborate on that, besides saying that the city is laying somewhere in province Brabant close to a big city 's-Hertogenbosch. Besides Loek van Wely who is taking a (rather suspicious) sabbatical, everyone was present, including Dutch top- Sokolov, Smeets and L'Ami. All other players were not much weaker, with only one player being not a GM- Ruud Jansen, but as compensation, Ruud had an ELO over 2500, so the tournament was rather solid, especially for Dutch standards, to say the least. We were staying in a conference hotel in Vught, a city close to Boxtel, about 20 minutes driving.
…for the moment enough about the organization details, let's get to the actual chess tournament.
I was pretty happy with my pairing, as I had all my main opponents in first 5 rounds. My happiness didn't last for too long, as already in the very first round I played a terrible game against Sipke Ernst. While I was winning once and my opponent twice, I decided that I should be content with a half a point, but besides that there wasn't much to be content with.
My second game I was playing against Erwin L'Ami, who decided to surprise me with a strange looking Bd7-Bc6 setup in an English Catalan that I played. I found the correct setup and got a big advantage without too much effort. In time trouble I was a bit too hesitant and somehow managed to spoil everything, but things remained complex enough and I managed to emerge winning anyway.
I certainly wanted to win another game, against Friso Nijboer, with white and I managed to get a promising position indeed. In Leningrad variation of Dutch defense, I chose a rare b3 line and even managed to play an interesting over the board novelty. Probably interesting is all it was, but Friso fell for the only idea it contained and after 20 moves I had over 1 hour advantage and an enormously pleasant ending. Perhaps it was too enormously pleasant as it was nothing more than a slight stable advantage. I was trying to squeeze something bigger out of my position in my calculations, but all I ended up with was blundering a simple shot after which it was me who had to defend carefully. Having still huge time advantage I offered a draw, in a position with no risk of winning, but also no big risk of losing and the game was drawn.
I was extremely annoyed by the game and probably it did me good as I managed to win…all the remaining games afterwards!
Game analysis Smeets-Giri
Already after this game it was clear that I was on a right track, and so I was very optimistic heading into the rest day. That day I spent rather typically, wasting some time, watching some movies, having some walks and traditionally preparing for what would not appear on the board next day.
I must add that before the game being absolutely not superstitious I for the second in a row time took the car (we were arriving to the playing hall by cars of the participants) of the Women Dutch Champion Peng and as I was winning game after game I never changed my driver again:).
My next opponent was Swinkels, who decided to go for Grunfeld. I didn't mind it so much and was happy to catch him off guard with the Russian system that is characterized with Qb3. I didn't hesitate much to refute the relatively new variation starting with Nc6, which is recommended in the recent books about Grunfeld. The concept of prophylactical g3 was suggested to me by my coach Chuchelov, already long time back and indeed over the board I liked it even more than before. Robin decided to do something with a suspicious e6, and after throwing in Bg5 and Na4 I realized that I was winning. The blunder by Swinkels only speeded it up.
After the fourth win in a row I already secured my title, as my opponents- Sipke, Sokolov, Wouter and Swinkels were somehow all kicking each other. Yet I was feeling full of motivation for my last game, against the ex-leader Wouter Spoelman.
In a topical line of Slav, we followed the game L'Ami-Smeets played in the first round. That game ended in a draw, without too many real problems for black, what probably was the reason Wouter followed the game. However, I deviated with early Ne5- followed by Nxd7! and it soon became clear that Black still has a lot of questions to answer. I very much liked my idea of a4 followed by Qa5, but unfortunately for me there was a strong move c3! instead of somewhat inconsistent retreat Nd7. While after c3 the game would probably end in a draw (with White having a pawn more, but with opposite coloured bishops, no real winning chances) after Nd7 I had a full control and the idea of Wouter e5 followed by Nc5 would be good if not what happened in the game, where there were too many pieces hanging, mainly the bishop on d5. It was apparent that Black's position was already collapsing, when Wouter blundered with Bc6.
Game analysis Giri-Spoelman
With this win I won the tournament, 2 points ahead of my runner up- Sokolov, and got some ELO points that are always welcome in our modern era.
Obviously it was a pleasant experience and I hope there is more to come…