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.


The young IM offered a draw after 20.Nbd2, but at that point Black is taking over. In fact, 21...Qe6 would have given Black a strong attack. A few moves later 23...Qe6 was required, since 23...Qf8? gave White the upper hand in the endgame. Sipke almost fought his way back, but in the end Jose Rafael sharply calculated his way to a win.

In unshared second place is now Katerina Nemcova, who scored an elegant win against Ryan Harper. When she finished centralising her pieces, the tactics all worked in her favour. One of the most fascinating moves of the round was Irine Sukandar's undogmatic 20...b5!? versus Humberto Pecorelli. Eventually, the game was drawn. Jose Luis Vilela still must have been very tired from his marathon morning game and blundered early in the game versus Gergely Szabo.

Anna Zozulia was suprised in the opening and had to fight real hard to keep a draw against Ariel Marichal. Edwin van Haastert thought for a split second that he had blundered against Terry Farley, but the tactics worked for him after all. The Surinamese players keep drawing their games amongst eachother and are now gathering around 2 out of 5. Fortunately, in round 6 they have more pairings against other players.

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