Groningen Open

December 18-30, 1999

report by John Henderson

DURING the Christmas holidays, Kilmarnock’s John Shaw (photo left by JBH) served us up a Dutch treat with an outstanding performance in the very strong 38th Groningen International Chess Festival that ran from 18-30 December in the Martinihal Leisure Centre in the Netherlands.

Shaw, finished sixth equal in the Open with a score of 7.5/11, had a tournament performance rating of 2540 to finish just one point off the eventual tournament winner, GM Sergey Tiviakov, from the Netherlands.

Along with draws against Tiviakov and Russia’s Timoschenko, he also had big wins against the Russian pair of former women’s world champion, Nona Gaprindashvili, and Vladimir Epishin - who, with a rating of 2657, makes this one of the biggest-ever Scottish scalps in an international competition.

Other Scottish results in the tournament were: Neil Berry (Edinburgh) 5/11 and Kenny Beaton (Glasgow Montrose) 4.

The Groningen Festival also had a category VIII, six-player double round all-play-all women’s tournament that was won by WGM Antoaneta Stefanova (Bulgaria) with a score of 7.5/11 and Albert Bokros (Hungary) dominated the twelve-player, all-play-all “Young Masters”, an invitational for players aged 18 and below, to win by a two-point margin 8/11.

In John Shaw’s last round victory over Epishin, his top-flight opponent is all but virtually lost after 14..Qxc5. Ironically for Epishin, this offbeat line of the Sicilian was “busted” recently by the top Dutch opening monograph, NIC Yearbook 52, and Nunn’s Chess Openings, where Shaw had seen the refutation.

Open 1 GM S Tiviakov (Ned) 8.5/11; 2-5 GM R Kasimdzhanov (Uzb), GM A Nenashev (Uzb), IM E Najer (Rus), IM R Burnett (USA) 8; 6-9 GM Z Gymesi (Hun), IM O Salmensuu (Fin), GM R Vaganian (Arm), IM J Shaw (Sco) 7.5.

J Shaw – V Epishin Groningen Open, (11) Sicilian Defence 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 g6 3 d4 Bg7 4 dxc5 Qa5+ 5 Nc3 Nf6 6 e5 Ne4 7 Qd4 Nxc3 8 Bd2 Nb5 9 Qh4 Qc7 10 Bxb5 Nc6 11 0–0–0 h6 12 Rhe1 Nd8 13 Nd4 e6 14 Ba4 Qxc5 15 Nb5 0–0 16 Bxh6 f6 17 Bxg7 Kxg7 18 exf6+ Rxf6 19 Nd6 Rf8 20 Qe7+ Kg8 21 Nxc8 Rxc8 22 Qxc5 Rxc5 23 Rxd7 b5 24 Bb3 a5 25 a3 a4 26 Ba2 Re8 27 Re3 Kf8 28 Rg3 Rf5 29 Rxg6 Rxf2 30 h4 Rf1+ 31 Rd1 Rf2 32 h5 Ke7 33 Re1 Ref8 34 Bxe6 Rf1 35 Rg7+ Kd6 36 Rd7+ Kc6 37 Rdd1 Rxe1 38 Rxe1 Kd6 39 Bg4 1–0