Saturday, 19 July 2014

Leiden Open round 8

Todays game started at the unusually early time of 1pm. Not much time for tourism so the ladies spent the day at Katwijk beach while I played quite an interesting game. I missed a chance to take a serious advantage with 17.Nbd6 according to stockfish. Then everything was balanced until I played the "winning" 39.Qd5??

What I had missed was that I can't answer 42....Rb6 with Nc3 because black just takes the knight and queens. Oh well, last round tomorrow, 11.00am :-) That's another thing I like about the Dutch. They aren't really morning people either.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Leiden Open round 7


After yesterdays somewhat lame expedition to Corpus we decided to just go for a walk in town today. As we were walking past the Windmill museum " De Falk " curiosity finally got the better of us so we decided to have a look. Good move! 



There is a video explaining the history and the importance of Windmills in Holland on the first floor in many languages including French and English. 

Here we have some millstones.


The Millar and his family lived in the mill. Like the living room?


Old equipment is everywhere. No indication of what it is though.


The view from the top is quite spectacular.


Now we are in the guts of the mill.


Bench full of gears, weights etc...


Guts again.


And a little window half way down.


The Molenmuseum De Falk gets my seal of approval. The stairs are a bit scary and there are lots of them but the view is worth the effort if nothing else.

Ok, on to my game. We returned home around 6pm so I had about an hour to come up with something. I noticed very quickly that my opponent doesn't play open Sicilians. In my long career I have tried all kinds of ways to avoid playing 3.d4 but have come to the sad conclusion that they all suck. Therefore whenever I see someone not playing the open, I play 1.c5 :-)

My opponent was well prepared and had played the variation in the game many times. Still, he got nothing from the opening and his position imperceptibly went from equal to slightly worse then clearly worse, then hopeless. I have played the same game from the other side. Trust me youngsters, the anti-sicilians all suck.



As my reward I am back on board 3, white against GM Predrag Nikolic 2605! Scary :-)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Leiden round 6

Our sightseeing today had a curious start. A group of us put on headphones in the desired language and took an escalator into the human digestive tract...through the most convenient orifice.

We were visiting Corpus, an educational attraction that takes you on a journey through the human body. I must admit that it was not the highlight of our holiday. Strangely enough there were lots of senior citizens taking the tour which seems mainly suited to 8-12 year olds. They all queued at some "well being" machine in the interactive section.

Meanwhile Nina burned off 70 calories on the exercise bike provided.

At the reception they keep an eye on you :-)


Comprehensive anatomical posters can be found on the walls throughout the complex.



Well today was one for the spectators. I thought it was a good day to go all out for a win and I got close but when it was time to play 25.c5 I changed my mind and played the philosophical 25.0-0. Not fatal but I followed up with the horrible 26.Qa7. I had a feeling it was a bit decentralising but played it anyway, against my better judgement.
Annoying actually but tomorrow is another round. 



I am still clinging onto the live boards actually, board 8, so if you are really bored......:-)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Leiden Open round 5

Todays game was a bit more exciting than yesterdays so I'll start with chess. I'm quite happy with todays game although I'll have to take a closer look before repeating the experiment. Instead of 10.Qb3, just Bb2 might be good getting ready to play d5. If black plays 10.....d5 11.b5 looks fast.

Finally 18.Nc4 allowing f4! makes whites position untenable.



Anyway, we have a day off and then back to the liv boards with white against GM Ikonnikov.

Leiden round 4 + Hortus Botanicus

One of the outstanding attractions in Leiden is the Hortus Botanicus. It is Hollands oldest, founded in 1590 so it has one of my favourite things, old trees.
They also have different exhibits and this summer it is ancient plants. 


The gardens are not huge but well thought out with a map at the entrance so you don't get lost but since you can see the border from nearly everywhere.....


Nina posing with the founder, Clusius I think, or something similar.



The greenhouses have a great collection of carnivorous plants. These are in the rafters three storeys up. 


I tried to dissuade Nina from touching them by telling her that they will snap her fingers off but she needed to verify.


Next floor down is a cactus collection. This was a particularly weird looking one. 


Lots of info about fossilised ferns with the actual fossils, some hundreds of millions of years old.


Flowers everywhere. 


Not sure what this is. An artwork or fossils?


These water plants were huge! They were in the prehistoric section.


My new favourite tree in Leiden.


More flowers. No explanatory signs so they must be purely decorative.



And another amazing tree. It's branches formed a natural tipi.
You may notice that I uploaded more pictures than usual. This is to compensate for the lack of chess content :-)

We did play 13 interesting moves but when my 200 point higher rated grandmaster opponent offered me a draw in a more or less equal position I whimped out. I blame our horticultural excursion.
 ( excuse number 345 ) 



So now I have black against a lower rated opponent. If I win then the draw was a brilliant stratagem, if not it was a severe error in judgement. Stay tuned :D

Monday, 14 July 2014

Leiden round 3

The weather has been lousy for a few days now so we have done only a limited amount of sightseeing.

Our first excursion to the north sea was uninspiring. We drove to Katwijk in the morning but somehow the grey bleak landscape did not inspire picture taking, not to mention the drizzle that made me worry about my camera.

We did not stay too long as I had a game to play at 1pm. 7...d5 needs to be answered by 8.cd5 I think. Don't take my word for it as I haven't checked it with my database yet. Too busy watching the world cup final :-)



We took a walk after the game and I blundered immediately by taking us to an empty take-away for Shoarma. Never eat somewhere if nobody else is. A few pics?


This is the windmill museum near central station. I have been meaning to visit it for years. Maybe this time?


Water views everywhere.


And bridges. When we got back some games were still going so Nina and I went to check them out.


The first eight boards can be viewed from the bar or if you can't make it to Holland on time you can view them online

I have finally made it to the live boards and am playing GM Csaba Horvath. Time to bring my a game :-)








Saturday, 12 July 2014

Leiden round 2

We had a quiet day today. The game was at 1pm and we needed to recover from the drive and yesterdays sightseeing.. We did go for a walk to the Park Kweeklust. 

On the way we met locals who unlike the tourists know to stay off the bikepath.

 

The park features some domesticated animals. There are signs not to feed the animals but the locals obviously haven't noticed them yet.


We had to walk past this area twice.






Now to the game. Not much excitement actually. I dont like my opponents plan of swapping light squared bishops. Instead he should focus on playing f5 instead. The game continuation felt smooth enough.



Tomorrow we play at 1pm and in th evening there is the world cup final! It could be a thriller!