In round 4 we were treated to some exciting chess. On board 1 Chris had the chance to take over the lead. True to his style he went for the combative King’s Indian defence in his first game against me and faced yet another 6. h3 as we did in our last encounter. As it happens so often in the King’s Indian, white gets a fantastic position but black doesn’t seem to mind too much and just attacks. The fact that my king remained in the center added to the complications.
Black is ready to play f5. How should white continue? I decided to play Nb3 and to get ready to take everything on c5. I can’t say that I was overly confident as this leaves my dark squares pretty vulnerable.
Luckily the queen on c5 is not only a good attacking piece but is also well positioned to take over some defensive tasks.
In game 2 Chris surprised me with a 5. Qe2 Ruy Lopez. The opening was dominated by mutual inaccuracies and yielded a position in which Chris was a pawn up and I had some compensation. An unusual position for Chris. If you look at his past games you will see that he is the person that is a pawn down and looks for the initiative to justify his play.
Hamlet and Arturo liked the opening of their first game so much that they went on to play it again with reversed colors.
The center is blocked, what should black do?
Reagan and John both won their black games. In game 1 Reagan played the rare 2 Bf4 against John’s Slav. John reacted very well and soon got a dominant position. In game 2 Reagan was fighting back with a Benoni and got a Benoni-dream position after white commited a couple of inaccuracies.
Patrick gave Randy a good fight. But it’s difficult to overcome someone with Randy’s experience.
Patrick just played 3. … Nd7. In the Slav or Semi-Slav the queen’s knight is often developed to d7. Often, but not always. In contrast to other games chess is a game where both players have access to all information. That doesn’t mean that we have to give our opponent even more information. By playing 3. … Nf6 black keeps his cards close to the chest and retains a maximum to flexibility to react to white’s plans. The text move commits the black queen’s knight too early. Randy didn’t have to be asked twice and played 4 cxd5. Now we have an exchange Slav and black wishes the knight could go to c6.
Robbie and Russel reached the following position after a wild game.
Black just played Kc5-b6. Are white’s split pawns a match for black’s connected passers? How can white save the game?
You can replay all games of round 4 below.
This Friday, round 5, is the last round of the Lasker Open. The prize money for the winner is $55, second place $33, and third place $22. Next week Friday we will host a 2h blitz arena on Lichess. This blitz tournament will serve as a tiebreaker for the Lasker Open. There won’t be any split prizes.
Here are the pairings for round 5: