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Dear Chess friends,

In honor of the independence day of Suriname (November 25), and after the enormous success of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Srefidensi tournament, the Surinaamse Schaakbond will organize the 4th Srefidensi Chess Celebration tournament, from Monday, November 21th, 2016 till Monday, November 28th, 2016.

This international chess tournament will consist of a Master and an Open class.

IM Jose Rafael Gascon Del Nogal from Venezuela is the winner of the third edition of the Srefidensi Chess Celebration, with an impressive 7 out of 9 score and a 2590 performance. He is always so well prepared that his opponents have trouble getting playable positions against him. In the last round Anna Zozulia tried 3.c3 in the Sicilian, but soon she ended up in a worse position without anything to play for, so she accepted the draw offer.

At the top boards the players were consolidating their current tournament rankings with quick draws. That means that IM Jose Rafael Gascon from Venezuela is now on 6.5 out of 8 and still a full point ahead of the rest of the field. Irine Sukandar did come to board with the intention of trying to beat the tournament leader and declined the first draw offer, but got nothing from the opening.

Jose Rafael Gascon consolidated his lead by beating Ryan Harper with the white pieces. Harper is a dangerous attacking player, but he has problems getting his game going with Black. Gascon played a Maroczy Bind in classical fashion, first restricting all active options of his opponent, before switching his attention to the kingside, to go after the black king. Gascon is now on 6 out of 7, a full point ahead of the rest of the field.

After all the action of the previous rounds, the sixth round was a relatively quiet one. Katerina Nemcova got some pressure from a Bb5 Sicilian with the white pieces against Jose Rafael Gascon, to the extent that the Venezuelan felt obliged to sacrifice a pawn. This indeed gave some relieve and after the exchange of queens Black had full compensation. Possibly 19.Qc2 was a better try at organizing White's forces. Since they agreed to a draw, Gascon remains in the sole lead with 5 out of 6. Irine Sukandar and Gergely Szabo took it easy today and played a quick draw.

Venezuelan IM Jose Rafael Gascon has taken the sole lead in the tournament by beating GM Sipke Ernst in a complicated game. The Dutchman deliberately played a risky opening with Black and indeed White seemed to be doing well after the opening. In the commentary room we were expecting White to break somewhere with b3, but when Gascon hesitated doing so, the position quickly became very unclear.

In round 4 we saw five decisive games on the first six boards and we now have two tournament leaders: IM Jose Rafael Gascon and GM Sipke Ernst. The young man from Venezuela keeps impressing with confident and strong play. Judging from his games he must have been working hard on his chess lately and this is clearly starting to pay off. In Gascon-Pecorelli Black didn't seem to be aware of the stem game Vallejo Pons-Kramnik, Linares 2004 and quickly got into trouble. The star move was the positional pawn sacrifice 15.e5! after which Gascon went on to produce another model game.