Groenendijk grants Georgiev the world title in the final second
Report of the 19th round by Auke Scholma
The many spectators watched breathlessly how the tension raised to above the boiling point in the last round of the unforgettable WC.
First the attention was aimed at Wouter Sipma, who had the difficult task to curb his natural instincts against Georgiev. After an exciting opening, where particularly Georgiev was willing to take risks, Sipma managed to keep the balance decently. Without having to use the crowbar, Sipma maintained his unbeaten status, after which the focus could be moved to the games of Groenendijk and Boomstra.
De latter succeeded to create tensions in the opening against Ganjargal. The Mongolian however defended calmly and Boomstra did not manage to get substantial advantage. Disappointed he had to settle for a draw. Again, just like two years ago, the second spot, which entitles to challenge the world champion, slipped through his fingers.
Who that world champion would be remained uncertain until the dying seconds of this tournament. Jan Groenendijk applied the thumbscrews to Arnoud Cordier in the late middle game with a forced piece on the side. With the help of a hidden tactical finesse, which Cordier had not seen coming, he visible increased his advantage. Cordier saw through the plans of his opponent, but when he missed a combination to secure the draw, the opportunity for a draw disappeared from view. Only with a miraculous double gambit his position could analytically still be saved. When the Frenchman passed that opportunity, a euphorical excitement grew among commentators and the audience. The graph of Kingsrow peaked: database win!
The endgame of two kings plus two pieces for Groenendijk against a king and three pieces for Cordier would take time, but few doubted a sensation, a new Dutch world champion, of 17 years! Cordier was able to bring one single trick into the position. He threated to sacrifice three pieces and capture Groenendijk’s kings. The student from Wageningen, who had gotten tired due to his style that feeds of energy and time, did see the threat, but in a flurry of draughts blindness he did not ensure an adequate solution with just seconds left on the clock and Cordier managed to save himself.
After Groenendijk sealed the draw with a handshake, and Cordier murmured a vague apology, the young man sat behind the board like he was petrified for a few minutes to process the blow. After that he stood up like a man and spoke to the press. At the end of next year, he will play a match for the world title. He would not have dared to dream about this in advance.
The other games got barely any attention in the demonstration room. With many participants the pipe showed almost empty. No less than four decisions could be recorded. Not for Forbin and Loko, who raced to a draw. But for Baliakin, whom Vipulis allowed to take an easy shot. Baliakin climed to a decent sixth position with that.
Ivanov forced a small break through to king from thin air against Sjaibakov and played himself into a decent fourth place. Also Chizhov climbed to a ranking that fits his status by a beautiful victory over Kouogueu. Only three points behind the leader, he will think back about the many missed opportunities. Samb provided Atse with a loss at the last moment, and he was so happy with that, that during the closing ceremony he gave a comical speech that was enjoyed by everyone.
It was a tournament never to forget, and in contrast to after the 20th match game Chizhov-Sijbrands from 1990, the dominating feeling is that Groenendijk will have plenty of opportunities to make up for his missed opportunity.
The Netherlands congratulate Alexander Georgiev with his 9th world title. We are proud of our youngsters.