Round two of the Masters Matches in The Hoogeveen Chess Tournament, was played on Monday 17th October.
The events of this round would leave the scores in both matches level. Jorden Van Foreest used his White pieces to full effect against Ivan Sokolov. Perhaps Sokolov’s opening choice of the Philidor’s Defence was a little tame, and White easily obtained the best of things and a slight pull. However, White’s choice of 16.Qh3 over 16.e5 saw his initiative lessen rather dramatically. Van Foreest wanted to focus on his Kingside plans, but sometimes in chess one just has to play the best move, and that seems to have been 16.e5, which maintained momentum. As it was, Black was able to gain some active ground and make his own threats.
However, just on the verge of equality, Sokolov made a fatal error and took his eye off his King. 20…Ra5 or 20…Ne8 were playable, but the Dutchman opted to push with 20…d5?? This was severely out of context, as Van Foreest demonstrated with 21.Nxg7! From here, the game belonged to White and Van Foreest showed just how dangerous a player he is, punishing Sokolov forcefully. A nice game!
Hou Yifan did rather less well with her game as White against Nigel Short. Infact, the Englishman blunted her game completely in the French Defence, a trusted weapon of his throughout his career. Queens came off the board early on and from here the position became such that there was an undeniable impasse. The players shuffled about a bit, but there was very little potential without one of them taking a risk — which neither did and the game was drawn without much event. If I was White I would be rather disappointed.
This leaves both matches drawn at a point each. The next round will be played on Tuesday 18th October after which there will be a rest day.
Standings after 2 rounds:
Short 1 vs 1 Hou
Sokolov 1 vs 1 Van Foreest