The battle is heating up at the World Champions Group at the Ísey Skyr Chess Festival here in Hotel Selfoss. After the 5th round we now have three players tied with 3.5 point and one player chasing them only half a point behind. Who will carve out their place at the top and become the champion of World Champions?
Lets have a look at how things played out in the 5th round.
Sergei Zhigalko – Dinara Saduakassova
Saduakassova seemed well prepared against the English Opening and equalized with powerful pawn moves in the middlegame, …b5 and …d5. The game liquidated to an ending that the Kazak held easily.
Rafael Leitao – Mikhail Antipov
The symmetrical English was also played in Leitao vs Antipov. Antipov strayed a bit of beaten paths with 4…h5!? Despite both player’s best efforts to keep the game interesting a double rook endgame ensued where Antipov could relatively easily cover his only weaknesses and white simply had no breakthroughs, a draw was inevitable.
Sara Khadem – Semyon Lomasov
Semyon played actively in the opening and tried to exploit his lead in development and the fact that Sara’s king was still uncastled. Sara managed to solve her temporary problems and seemed therefore to be heading to a pleasant middlegame/endgame with the bishop pair and a nice pawn majority on the queenside. Sara then didn’t find accurate enough moves and settle on a draw a few moves later when her advantage probably had evaporated.
Hannes Hlífar Stefánsson – Helgi Áss Grétarsson
Stefansson got a somewhat better position in the Ruy Lopez as white. He seemed to be having a smooth sailing when he missed a powerful move.
Black played 19…Ne3! and black equalized quite easily. Fortunately for Stefansson, due to timetrouble Gretarsson played the bad …Bd4 when …Bf6 held the balance. A few moves later everything collapsed for black and Stefansson got an important win to keep up with the leaders.
Héðinn Steingrímsson – Ahmed Adly
Steingrimsson seemed to have a nice position and things under control. Something went wrong however in the middlegame and all of a sudden he sat there with a pawn weakness on e4 which Adly pounded and later won that pawn. The ensuing Queen endgame contained some technical issue to see through but Adly managed in the end despite a great defensive effort by Steingrimsson.
5th round results
Standings after 5 rounds
Pairing for 6th round
Three of the leaders have the white pieces in the 6th round and will be looking to consolidate their standing at the top of the table.