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THE FOURTH T-Systems Prague Open took place from 14 to 21 January attracting a field of 104, including five grandmasters and nine IMs. The field was mostly Czech but just three of their 18 grandmasters took part and the top two seeds were both foreign IMs: Viacheslav Zakhartsov from Russia and Karel Van der Weide from Holland.

With just 28 players over 200, the tail was extremely long, enabling the top players to build up a good head of steam before they had to meet each other. Indeed, a clear leader emerged only after round six: the Czech grandmaster Eduard Meduna on 5.5/6.

Meduna was defeated in the seventh of the nine rounds by Van der Weide (see below) but he bounced back with 1.5 from the final two rounds and this was sufficient to share first place on 7/9 (and indeed be declared first on tie-break) with Van der Weide, IM Andrey Orlov (Russia) and GM Milko Popchev (Bulgaria); ahead of seven players including Zakhartsov on 6.5.

In this splendidly messy battle, Van der Weide sacrificed much of his army to gain an enormous passed h pawn.

It's quite conceivable that after 16...Qxh4 17.Qxh8+ Kd7 18.Bg2 Black has enough play to force perpetual check but this would be extremely hard to gauge during a game and Meduna instead got his rooks co-ordinated and blockaded the pawn with his knight.

However, it was a real thorn in his side and eventually Van der Weide was able to win the knight for it and the game.

Karel Van der Weide

vs Eduard Meduna

Prague Open 2005 (round 7)

Caro Kann Advance Variation

1.e4 c6

2.d4 d5

3.e5 Bf5

4.Nc3 e6

5.g4 Bg6

6.Nge2 Bb4

7.Be3 Ne7

8.h4 h5

9.Nf4 c5

10.Nxg6 Nxg6

11.gxh5 Nxh4

12.Qg4 cxd4

13.Rxh4 Bxc3+

14.bxc3 dxe3

15.Qxg7 exf2+

16.Ke2 Rf8

17.Rh3 Nc6

18.h6 Kd7

19.h7 Ne7

20.Rb1 b6

21.Kxf2 Ng6

22.Bb5+ Kc7

23.Rg1 Qe7

24.Ke1 Nh8

25.Be2 Kb7

26.Qf6 Qxf6

27.exf6 Ng6

28.Bd3 Ne5

29.Rg7 Nd7

(see diagram)

30.Rhg3! Nxf6

31.h8Q Rxh8

32.Rxf7+ Kc6

33.Rxf6 Kd7

34.Re3 1-0