In Ramada hotel in Jerusalem tension is rising up as the battle on the 23 qualification tickets to the world cup games approaches its decisive moments. Yesterday in the eighth round former European champion Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi took a sole lead with 6.5 points after beating Englishman David Howell whilst all other seven leaders had settled for a draw.

Nepo vs Howell

A large group of 13 grandmasters are just half a point behind the leader.

Once again Israeli juniors were the local heroes of the round. Following his sensational round 7 victory on the Armenian GM Hrant Melkumyan, young Ohad Kraus (rated 2190) obtained a winning position once again against a strong grandmaster. It was Robin van Kampen this time who being a pawn down for practically nothing he rushed to offer a draw which was accepted. One would think it was due to the huge rating gap between the two, however Kraus, an orthodox believer explained that it was a fasting day yesterday and he actually hadn’t eaten anything since the day before. His overloaded dinner plate after the round showed indeed that he was pretty hungry. Robin on this part said later: “The draw offer was definitely my best move in this game”…

playing hall

The great local hero of round eight was nonetheless 14 years old David Gorodetzky (rated 2210) who beat yesterday a second Israeli grandmaster. Earlier in the tournament he had downed Dan Zoler and yesterday he defeated Arthur Kogan in just 23 moves:

David Gorodetzky –  Arthur Kogan [B01]

Eicc 2015 , 04.03.2015

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Bc4 b5?! 7.Bb3 e6 8.0–0 Be7 9.Re1 0–0? 10.d5! Rd8 11.Bd2! b4 12.dxe6! bxc3 13.exf7+ Kf8 [13…Kh8 14.Bxc3! Rxd1 15.Raxd1 Qc7 16.Ba5+-] 14.Qe2 Qc7 15.Bxc3 Nd5 16.Ng5 Bf5 17.Bxd5 Rxd5 18.Qxe7+ Qxe7 19.Rxe7 Na6 20.Rae1 Rdd8 21.Re8+ Rxe8 22.Bxg7+! Kxg7 23.Rxe8 1–0   An O-la-la miniature!

Another victim of a blitzing attack was a famous Slovenian senior GM. His opponent is a young Dutch GM:

David Klein – Alexander Beliavsky [C41]

EICC 2015 , 04.03.2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.g3 d5 7.e5 Ng4 8.Bg2 0–0 9.0–0 c5 10.Ndb5 d4 11.Nd5 Nc6 12.f4 Nh6 13.h3 Nf5 14.Kh2 a6 15.Nbc7 Ra7 16.Qe1 b5 17.Qe4 d3 18.cxd3 Nfd4 19.f5 Rxc7? [19…Bxf5 20.Rxf5 Nxf5 21.Qxf5 Rxc7 22.Nxc7 Qxc7=] 20.f6! gxf6?? [20…Bxf6 21.exf6 Re8 22.Qf4 Rd7=] 21.exf6 Bd6 22.Qh4! 1–0

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By Yochanan Afek

Photos by Yoav Nis