THE LAHLUM ROUND REPORT 4
In Group A top seeded Johanna Johannsdottir (1864) put pressure on the first board players by an expected win as white against Amanda Lindeström (1606). White got an edge on the board and a clear advantage on the clock from this Sicilian Alapin opening, and won a pawn in the middle game. Lindeström fought on well and still had some activity in the endgame with rook and knight versus rook and bishop. Running short of time she however made the decisive mistake when exchanging rooks, drifting into a lost knight versus bishop endgame. Meanwhile the first board meeting between Erle Andrea Marki Hansen (1793) and Jessica Bengtsson (1860) made a slow start as a closed Catalan, leading to a balanced isolated pawn position. White kept a slight edge, but as black defended sound it soon ended up with a four bishop endgame in which the isolated pawn made no practical difference. White offered a draw at move 35 and black accepted after thinking about it for a few minutes.
Louise Segerfelt (1777) once more played up an interesting position with a Sicilian Grand Prix attack – and once more spoiled it all as she ran short of time and lost contact with her variations. Efficiently cashing in the loose material Sigridur Helgadottir (1755) won the game and despite her troublesome first round is only half a point behind the leaders before last round. Meaning she has no chance for a gold medal, but will be more or less guaranteed a medal if winning in the last round too. Ingrid Carlsen (1571) still has a pole out tournament, today losing a four hours Sicilian battle after playing with rook versus queen without pawns in the final moves. This said opponent Emilie Ellegaard Christensen (1837) had an initiative almost all of the game, could have won the rook endgame earlier on, and well deserved a full point after she had pole out in several earlier episodes of this championship.
… All this meaning we have a very exciting situation with three players sharing the lead at 3 out of 4 before last round in the Group A! One point ahead on the Buchholz Erle Andre Marki Hansen is likely but still not sure to become the champion if winning in the last round – and she will get a hard game as black against Sigridur Helgadottir. Johanna Johannsdottir finally shares the lead and has the second best buchholz, but will also get a tough challenge as black against Emilie Ellegaard Christensen. Jessica Bengtsson playing white against Ingrid Carlsen has the easier pairing, but due to a troublesome buchholz she probably still will need help from both the other games to win the championship if winning her game. Only one thing is for sure in this group: Round five will be a true chess thriller!
THE LAHLUM ROUND REPORT 3
In Group A, “boring” was the short comment from the young frontrunner Erle Andre Marki Hansen (1793) about her first board game against Johanna Johannsdottir (1864). Hansen probably should have thought about that danger before playing a double fianchetto as white. True enough not too much exciting happened later on, and following sound moves from both players a draw was agreed by repetition after 27 moves.
If you see this game result isolated from the tournament, Hansen although playing white could be well satisfied with a draw against the top seeded Icelandic girl. Still Hansen following this draw lost her unshared first place, as second seeded Jessica Bengtsson (1860) did not have too many problems to win the Swedish battle against Louise Segerfelt (1777) on the second board. Black probably was fine from the Scotch opening, and although white had got a space advantage and a pair of bishops it was still a game after 25 moves. Segerfelt’s calculations however again collapsed as she ran disturbingly short of time. Bengtsson still being Miss Efficient of course did not hesitate first to pick up one exchange, then to pick up one more exchange, and then to advance her passed a-pawn all in after 40 moves.
As Johannsdottir has been rock solid but not too inspired, so far Hansen and Bengtsson have been the dominating players in this group. Their internal meeting on the first board tomorrow obviously will be extremely important, as the winner (if there is one) will have the championship within short reach. Hansen will get the advantage of the white pieces, but as Bengtsson still is the higher rated and more experienced player the game before move one looks completely open.
Excellent fighting spirit with no short draws in the A-group today, and the third board meeting between Emilie Ellegaard Christensen (1837) and Sigridur Bjorg Helgadottir (1755) became the last game to finish. No Danish dynamite from Christensen in today’s closed Queens Pawn opening (either), and following an early exchange of queens Helgadottir first got the initiative and then a pawn. The rook endgame a sound pawn up still seemed promising for black. While Christensen defended well Helgadottir’s winning plan however turned out to be some kind of very serious misunderstanding: Having sacrificed one pawn only to lose another pawn, the Icelandic girl in the fourth hour of play had to save a strange rook endgame in which black had two f-pawns while white had f-, g- and h-pawn. Still it probably was a draw as black’s king was in an almost perfect blockade position, and although Christensen made some creative tries she after 73 moves concluded the final pawn endgame a dead draw.
The fourth board between Danish Amalie Lindeström (1606) and Norwegian Ingrid Øen Carlsen (1571) became nearly as long and even more shaky, after both players had a pole out tournament so far. Carlsen doing very well in the first part of this English game clearly looked like the winner, playing with two extra pawns in the late middle game. Again running short of time she however in the fourth hour allowed counterplay, and forced herself to return both the extra pawns before the knight endgame. The knight endgame started up with three pawns on each side and probably was a a draw even after Carlsen lost her passed pawn. But the young Norwegian in short was a pawn down and probably very frustrated about the development when she lost on time at move 57. Great sportwomanship shown by Ingrid, laughing about her own mistaken moves when congratulating her opponent with the win on time. Amalie using her chances much better in the second half of the game of course did nothing wrong, and after all was the deserved winner of this jumpy game.
THE LAHLUM ROUND REPORT 2
Still a remarkably open situation in all the three runs for the Nordic Champion title after the end of round two: While 15 year old (!) Erle Andrea Marki Hansen representing Kristiansand and Norway is alone at 2/2 in the junior class, the pole position is shared between several players in both the younger classes. Two out of the three first ranked players seems more or less out of it after drawing in the first round and losing in the second!
Group A in round two saw a key meeting between first seeded Johanna Johannesdottir (1864) and second seeded Jessica Bengtsson (1860). To tell the truth the game was a small disappointment: Bengtsson again spent much more time than her Icelandic opponent in the Sicilian opening, but again came fine from it when the theory ended. As black even had a slight initiative, Johannesdottir as white offered a draw after 32 moves. Although the game was not too exciting, the result might well be the best for the excitement about the title in this group.
Second board meeting between Emilie Ellegaard Christensen (1837) and Erle Andrea Marki Hansen (1793) was another very important game – taking a much more dramatic course. Christensen appeared better from the Queen’s Pawn opening as white, and won a pawn on the queenside. Hansen however demonstrated the better understanding of the double edged position in the third hour of play, winning a piece and a game as her kingside attack turned dangerous. Long way to a Danish title following this loss for Emilie, while young and obviously underrated Erle is leading alone at 2/2 following this win!
The Danish junior girls overall had a hard second round following their internal draw in the first, as Amalie Lindeström (1606) lost against Sigridur Helgadottir (1755). Lindeström played bravely for a win as black with a Benkö Gambit, but Helgadottir elegantly demonstrated her attack to be the much more dangerous one. Ingrid Carlsen (1571) versus Louise Segerfelt (1777) was a tense Ruy Lopez struggle in which white failed to find a good plan in the middlegame, while black played for a kingside pawn storm. Having creatively sacrificed a knight on h3, black won back the piece by trapping white’s bishop on g3, and went on to complete the attack within a few moves.
THE LAHLUM ROUND REPORT 1
Following a friendly team captain meeting came a very promising first round: No quarrels or conflicts whatsoever, but a lot of hard fought games on the board. No participant was an obvious favorite to become the Nordic Champion in any of the three age classes before round one. This proved even more true after round one, as two out of three top seeded players failed to win.
The Group A (below age 20) is a very tight eights girls field, with all players within 300 ELO-points. Top seeded Johanna Bjorg Johannesdottir (1864) of Iceland made a convincing first round win as black against Swedish Louise Segerfelt (1777). Although white in a Sicilian Grand Prix line spent very much time from the opening, black demonstrated the better understanding and already was better when white short of time mixed up the variations and blundered a rook. Johannesdottir actually blundered back a knight, but soon reset her concentration and forced an easily won rook versus knight endgame.
Second seeded Jessica Bengtsson (1860) on the neighbor board also made an inspiring win and equalized the score between Iceland and Sweden. Still she got a demanding start as opponent Sigridur Helgadottir (1755) had the much better knowledge to this closed Sicilian line, and threw out 15 moves more or less without breathing. White however got an initiative after opening theory ran out in the middle game, and having intervened with her queen to pick up two pawns on the queenside she reached an easily won endgame. Curiously Helgadottir despite her lightening start ran short of time and went mate in the end, but then her position was bankrupt anyway.
The Danish meeting between Amalie Lindeström (1606) and Emilie Ellegaard Christensen (1837) was the only draw in the oldest group, but still a far from boring game. Having refused her opponent’s Sicilian Smith-Mora gambit, Black outplayed her opponent in the opening and got a strong initiative. But instead of reaching a clearly better ending with 14.--- Nxd3 she became much too greedy to win a pawn with 14.--- Nxa2?? - overlooking a strong tactical 15.c4! trapping the knight. Having got only a pawn for a piece, Christensen playing a rooks and bishop endgame without a bishop later was totally lost. While Christensen fought on well Lindeström however lost the thread, and in the end sacrificed back the bishop to land in a drawn rook endgame. The Norwegian meeting between Erle Andrea Hansen (1793) and Ingrid Carlsen (1571) for 20 moves was an awaiting closed English fianchetto struggle. Erle however made the superior calculations when the position finally opened around move 25, and won by attack before 35.