The Srefidensi Chess Celebration is still a young tradition, but steadily growing. This year the master group consists of 26 players, so 13 games per round. In the first round the top half was paired against the bottom half. Eleven results were according to Elo expectation. The two exceptions were 16-year-old Trinidad talent Joshua Johnson drawing IM Ariel Marichal Gonzalez and Sherman Maduro from Curacao beating Warren Elliott from Jamaica.

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Five games per round are played on live boards and in the commentary room we enjoyed discussing these games. Dutch IM Edwin van Haastert knows his Ruy Lopez very well and beat Orlando Husbands from Barbados straight from the opening. Edwin came along with his wife Linda Jap Tjoen San, whose parents are from Suriname. Linda didn't have a chance against IM Irine Kharisma Sukandar, after losing precious time with her knight on the kingside. Top seed Gergely Szabo had a longer, but still smooth game to beat Ryan Harper from Trinidad and Tobago.


Not entirely smooth was the win by Dutch GM Sipke Ernst versus Moron Mora from Venezuela. Sipke played a Najdorf for the first time in his life, got a promising position, but still had to work hard for the point after an inaccuracy. Calvin Tjong Tjin Joe from Suriname lost against Cuban coach Humberto Pecorelli Garcia. Instead of exchanging queens, Calvin should have sacrificed a pawn with d7-d5 to quickly finish his development and play for an attack against the white king. It is instructive moments like these, that teach us all valuable chess lessons.


IM Merijn van Delft