Rhodes – round four from Owen Phillips

The top boards in round four showed up just before the off – seemingly matching the tenseness of the situation, with such key clashes just about to take place.
Boards 1 and 2 saw Sicilians. The clash of the Champions soon became a tense double edged one, and I missed sone of the middle game where GM Tazbir seemed to have gained the decisive edge. So the reigning champ must now play catch up with five rounds to play!

On Vd2 Jandric appeared comfortable and should have at least drawn, but somehow lost his way and with IM Mueller eventually defeating IM Piotr Dukaczewski there are now two players on 4/4 and Mueller and two others on 3.5. Then we have a twelve-man group on 3/4!

Gary’s prep went peachy and he soon had his Colle devotee in less familiar territory. By the middle game he had a positional edge with the bishops pair. Sadly he made an error and lost a pawn and although he maybe should have held the draw, his lack of time and his CZ opponent showed good endgame technique to convert in around three hours.

Round five sees Israel FM Alex Streltsov face off against GM Marcin Tazbir. The set board 41 sees Vlad Kolpakov of Ukraine face IM Oliver Mueller -both on 3.5/4. Then back to Board 2 we see IM Predrag Nikac on 3 play Kuralbay Djakashov of Uzbekistan on 3.5. Gary plays on Board 33 with White against a 19-year old female player also from Uzbekistan – it won’t be easy!

Less than halfway though and much to play for. Gary and I are getting up early to go to Rhodes town today.