Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament 2005

Timman and Sasikiran win Sigeman Chess Tournament

To the disappointment of a number of spectators Timman and Sasikiran chose a quick draw after 11 moves that gave them shared first place with 6½/9.

Instead, Palo and Nakamura provided the entertainment. Palo, who had to win to become a grandmaster, looked like he was getting there when Nakamura chose a passive setup that gave Palo a clear advantage. The unfortunate 14.f4? threw it all away and Nakamura finished things off swiftly. With 14.Ne6 Be6 15.Qe6 f4 (it was to stop this move that Palo played f4) cd 17.Bc1! Bd4 (perhaps Nakamura had a better move here? otherwise white is simply a pawn up) 18.Nb5 Be5 (18.- Bc5? 19.b4) 19.Rd1 Nc8 20.Nd6! Bd6 21.Bd2! Palo could have won brilliantly.

Nakamura scored 6/9 and got third place. The seemingly unnecessary loss to Sasikiran proved decisive. On the other hand, he was lucky not to lose against Timman. It might have been more exciting for the audience had Timman beaten Nakamura, since this would have forced Sasikiran to win in the last round.

Curt Hansen finished with a draw against Sune Berg Hansen, who had no problem equalizing with the black pieces. Berg Hansen was probably even better when they agreed to a draw and Curt seemed to lack some of his usual energy in this tournament. Sune Berg seemed to lose inspiration after his bad start and played too many draws.

Hector has always played well in Høje Taastrup. In 1992 he finished second to Curt Hansen in Superchess Cup and in Politiken Cup 2004 he scored 4/4 before he had to go home to become a father for the first time. This time he scored 3½/4 when Iordachescu found the Kamikaze move 28.- Nb4?? that lost a piece. The last moves where pretty neat, though. 

With this result, Hector landed on 5/9 (he should be satisfied), while Iordachescu finished the tournament with several blunders and cannot be pleased with his performance.

Tiger Hillarp-Hermansson decided who was going to finish last. Tiger made an error in a difficult position and got the rather dubious honor.

Despite the somewhat disappointing finish, this year's tournament contained some great fighting chess and many nice games. Nakamura showed great spirit and is welcome back to Scandinavia any time. It was also nice to see Timman back up there and Sasikiran once again delivered.

Lets hope that the sponsorship situation improves, so that we can see another and perhaps even better Sigeman Chess Tournament next year.

Final standings:
Sasikiran and Timman 6½, Nakamura 6, Curt Hansen 5½, Hector 5, Iordachescu and Palo 4, Sune Berg Hansen 3½, Hermansson 2½, Hillarp 1½.

Timman and Sasikiran in the final

Sasikiran and Timman share the lead with 6/8 and their game in the final round will decide who wins Sigeman Chess Tournament 2005. Lets all hope that the fantastic fighting spirit that has characterized the tournament will last all the way through the last round and that we will not see a quick draw.

The second highlight of the last round will be the duel between Palo and Nakamura, where Palo needs to win to become a grandmaster. Nakamura has so far played all games down to the very end, so Palo will definitely get his chance.

In round 8 it looked like Timman was about to hold on to his lead, when Nakamura pressed too hard in what commentator GM Lars Bo Hansen called a "manuevering game". Nakamura made some big decisions very fast, and had obviously missed Timman's relatively simple but neat move 46. - Rh1! that put black a piece up. However, Nakamura lucked out, since he did not end up in a totally lost position and Timman could not find a win. We will have to look forward to the next issue of New in Chess, where Timman probably will analyze this endgame at depth (Timman has an endgame column in NIC). It looked like the two central pawns secured white a draw. Nakamura could even afford to jokingly decline Timman's offer of a draw and play on until the only pieces left were the two kings. He apparently takes playing all games to the hilt very seriously...

This result put Nakamura out of the race for first place and he will now have to fight Hansen over third place. Hansen had a chance to catch up by defeating Iordachescu, but had to settle for a draw. The loss against Sasikiran in round 4 proved costly to Curt.

Sune Berg chose a solid line as white against Palo and a draw was agreed in an even position. In other words, Palo chose to save up his energy for his last round game against Nakamura.

Hector is still on a roll and defeated Hermansson quite easily, after a pawn sacrifice where he got a lot of play and Hermansson simply broke down already around move 20. Maybe tiredness is becoming a factor now?

Tiger tried hard with the black pieces against Sasikiran and sacrificed his castling rights early on in the game. It looked good for a while, but Sasikiran is in good form and won in style. Commentator Lars Bo Hansen wanted to see a simplification into an ending where Sasikiran was a pawn up, but despite being low on time approaching move 40, Sasikiran chose to finish things off via an attack and once again showed why his rating is 2650 and rising.

Sasikiran and Timman have both looked good throughout the tournament and objectively, their game in the last round is an open affair. Sasikiran has lots of energy, but Timman has the white pieces and is once again beginning to look like the Timman that almost became a world champion.

Anyhow, the arrangers should be pleased with this year's tournament, the players have been offered very good conditions and have responded by fighting hard and playing some very exciting chess. All chess fans should hope for yet another year, but unfortunately the sponsor situation is far from clear. All we can do is hope...

Round 9 (final round):
Timman-Sasikiran, Palo-Nakamura, Sune Berg Hansen-Curt Hansen, Hector-Iordachescu, Hillarp-Hermansson

Nakamura gambled and lost

Nakamura lost contact with Timman when he lost against Sasikiran, who now looks like the biggest threat with 5/7.

Nakamura surprised Sasikiran with what looked suspiciously like an attempt at fool's mate (1.e4 e5 2.Dh5!?, what is this opening called!?). Around move 35, Nakamura compromised himself positionally in an attempt to play for a win (without really spending any time on this decision). A little while later, he sacrificed a pawn without any obvious compensation. Commentator GM Lars Bo Hansen meant that decisions of this type are not to be recommended against strong GMs like Sasikiran. Sometimes you have to accept that your opponent has earned a draw by defending well!? Lars Bo Hansen meant that Nakamura will have to learn this if he wants to be able to match +2750 players in the future. However, Lars Bo also meant that it would be great for chess if Nakamura would establish himself at the very top with his "I want to win all games" attitude. No matter what, the spectators love it and so do the Sigeman organizers.

Timman saved some strength for his game against Nakamura with a quick draw against Sune Berg, who happily accepted after yesterdays thrashing by Nakamura. Timman will need some energy to handle Nakamura, who will be back at full speed to try to regain lost ground.

Curt Hansen did not manage to defeat Hermansson, who defended well and seems to have recovered after his bad start. A disappointing result for Curt, who had the chance to close in on Timman but did not take it. He now has to defeat Iordachescu and Berg Hansen, but he will still need some help from other players to win the tournament.

The Danish spectators were very happy with Davor Palo who, from a seemingly even position, suddenly outplayed Iordachescu. Commentator Lars Bo Hansen was surprised by Iordachescu's sudden collapse, a +2600 player should not fall to pieces like that, he thought. Great game by Palo, who once again has shown his remarkable talent for shaking off a bad start.

This victory brought Palo's final GM norm within reach (he needs 5/9). In the last two rounds, he plays black against Sune Berg and Nakamura, so 1½/2 will not be easy. However, Sune Berg does not seem in his best form and against Nakamura he will always be allowed to slug it out, so who knows...

On the lower half, Jonny Hector looks the strongest. Inspired by his miracle half point against Sasikiran, Jonny defeated Tiger Hillarp in a neat attacking game and this put Tiger down at the bottom with Hermansson on 1½/7. It will be interesting to see if Tiger manages to find the strength to give Sasikiran a fight in the next round.

Once again great entertainment and the spectators were very happy with commentator GM Lars Bo Hansen, who analyzed with great energy. Lars Bo Hansen and Sune Berg Hansen also coach the best Danish juniors 3-4 times a year, this should serve Danish chess well in the future...

Round 8:
Nakamura-Timman, Berg Hansen-Palo, Iordachescu-Hansen, Hermansson-Hector, Sasikiran-Hillarp

Palo can still make GM norm

Davor Palo can still make his final GM norm. He needs 1½/2 from the last two rounds.

Timman hangs on to the lead

The important game Iordachescu-Timman gave Iordachescu some pressure after creative opening play. As they approached move 40 Timman had created some counterplay and at move 36 Iordachescu blundered a piece. Timman was of course not too unhappy with this and he holds on to his lead with 5/6.

Nakamura beat Sune Berg Hansen in a Najdorf. Accordning to Fritz, Hansen could have complicated things with 25.Kf2 (instead of 25.Ke2?). On the other hand, Nakamura missed 26. - Lb4! Nakamura keeps chasing Timman and now has 4½/6. In the last three rounds, Nakamura plays white against Timman and Sasikiran. A perfect plot...

In the next round, Sune Berg Hansen will try to stop Timman. In his chess column in Danish newspaper Politiken, Berg Hansen wrote that Timman often tires towards the end of tournaments. He might hope for that but Timman has not tired yet.

Curt Hansen won convincingly against Tiger Hillarp and is still not out of the race. He has played some good chess at Høje-Taastrup (SuperChess Cup in 1992 and Sigeman Chess Tournament 2004) and he seems to enjoy playing there. He will probably reach 6½ or 7 points if he can get even with Sune Berg after the Danish Championships, where Sune won the tiebreak.

Sasikiran nursed a small advantage against Hector and everything looked good. Commentators Peter Heine Nielsen and Brynell gave Hector a 10% chance of drawing, but 5 seconds after they had said that, Sasikiran missed a knight check that cost him his extra pawn. Sasikiran threw away half a point and perhaps also some fighting spirit. That was at least Peter Heine's guess. Hector fought hard and got his reward, he will now be able to land on a decent score if he does well against his Swedish colleagues.

Hermansson-Palo was a long and hard battle where both players wanted to win. However, nobody did and it ended in a draw. With this result, Hermansson doubled his score, while Palo remains in-between top and bottom. 

Round 7:
Curt Hansen-Hermansson, Palo-Iordachescu, Timman-Sune Berg Hansen, Sasikiran-Nakamura, Hector-Hillarp

Timman takes the lead

Timman once again won a rook ending, this time against Hermansson. Timman now leads the tournament with 4/5 and it will be interesting to see if he will last the whole way to the finishing line, or if his younger competitors will overtake him. Timman has a tough draw the last four rounds with black against Iordachescu and Nakamura, an white against Sasikiran.

Nakamura-Iordachescu turned into a long battle where none of the players managed to get the upper hand. However, it was nice to see them both trying hard, even though there was a good case for saving energy with a quick draw. 

Berg Hansen-Sasikiran also ended in a draw after a hard struggle. Berg Hansen showed that he has recovered from his bad start, something that will come in handy when he now faces Nakamura and Timman in the two following rounds.

Curt Hansen has an outstanding score as white against Hector (8 wins and 3 draws before today's game) and this time it was no different. With his win, Hansen showed that he should not be counted out of the race for first place.

Palo finally won a game after a well conducted effort against Tiger Hillarp, and has made a fine recovery after his bad start.

Sasikiran, Nakamura and Iordachescu seem to have equal chances of catching up with Timman, since they all face two of the lower rated opponents and two of the main competitors during the last four rounds. Two wins and two draws will land them on 6½/9, a result that probably will be sufficient for shared first place. However, winning all four games will almost certainly mean winning the tournament wirhout having to share the first prize. This would also keep the drawing rate at the current low level (this far, 15 out of 25 games have been decided).

After the rest day tomorrow (Wednesday), the tournament continues at Quality Hotel in Høje Taastrup (next door to the Høje Taastrup railway station), where the last four rounds are played Thursday-Sunday.

During Wednesday-Sunday, Quality Hotel will also host an international junior tournament, with several of Denmark's (and Sweden's) most promising players. The junior tournament will be played with two rounds per day, with the first round on Wednesday at 1 pm. Lots of good stuff for Danish chess fans...

Hansen drops behind

Curt Hansen lost contact with the leaders when Sasikiran converted an early advantage with the white pieces. Hansen has always been much better playing white and in this tournament it might be a serious problem for him, since he also had to settle for half a point as black against Nakamura and will play Iordachescu with the black pieces in the 8th round. Sasikiran's win put him in the lead.

Nakamura put in another marathon performance, but Hermansson snuck out of his grip and secured his first half-point. 

Timman also reached 3/4 with a quick draw against Tiger Hillarp. Both players probably needed some rest after yesterday's long games.

Iordachescu joined the group on 3/4 after failing to create an advantage against Sune Berg Hansen, who has recovered from his poor start and for a while was about to get the upper hand. However, the game ended in a draw. 

The most dramatic game was Hector-Palo, where Palo looked like to be in serious trouble for quite a while. When he finally managed to create a counter-attack right before move 40, he was so happy to have escaped that he forced a draw instead of thinking for a while. He would then have found the winning plan. Tough on young Palo, who has not been lucky so far.

The fifth round, the last day before the tournament takes a break to move to Copenhagen, contains the very interesting game Nakamura-Iordachescu. Timman plays white against Hermansson and Sune Berg Hansen white against Sasikiran. Palo-Hillarp and Curt Hansen-Hector also look interesting and we should get another round with only one or two draws.

Third round summary

Iordachescu-Sasikiran was uneventful. White had a slight initiative but it vanished once the queens had left the board and the game ended in a draw, the only one in the 3rd round.

Nakamura once again showed that he will try to win all games and this time he defeated Tiger in a 100 move marathon. Besides pressing hard, Nakamura also plays very fast. At the end of the game, he still had 1½ hours left on the clock while his opponent was down to the last minute.

As expected, Timman-Hector was very dramatic. Hector long looked to have the upper hand, but after some maneuvering, the position of Hector's king caused him problems and Timman ended up with a winning rook ending. Timman now shares the lead with Nakamura and Iordachescu with 2½/3.

Hansen follows immediately behind the leaders after winning a rook ending against Palo. Palo has not lived up to the expectations so far and his third and final grandmaster norm will probably have to wait for another tournament.

Sune Berg scored his first point when Hermansson overlooked a tactical trick that cost him an exchange and the game. After scoring 0/3, Hermasson's hope for a grandmaster norm is all but gone. He will now have to focus on a decent score, but in the 4th round he faces Nakamura so it might be hard...

The fourth round also contains Sasikiran-Hansen, where a pretty safe bet is a quick draw. The game between Tigger Hillarp and Jan Timman, two fighters who both have shown good form so far, will probably be more interesting. Hector-Palo will also be a good fight, where Hector will look to catch up with the leaders. Finally, Sune Berg Hansen will try to put a stop to Iordachescu.

Nakamura shows strength

Nakamura won a long and complicated game against Hector, where he showed good stamina and declined an invitation to a repetition of moves.

Tiger Hillarp sacrificed a pawn against Sune Berg Hansen and went for the king, despite time pressure did he mate Hansen, who did not find the right defense. The Danish champion is of course not pleased with 0/2. However, he is not alone, Magnus Carlsen has started with ½/4 in Gausdal.

Iordachescu took the lead when Hermansson forfeited on time in a lost position. Iordachescu looks like he will fight for first place.

Hansen-Timman gave white some pressure but it never developed into anything serious and the game ended in a draw after some exchanges. Palo equalized easily against Sasikiran, who offered a draw at move 24 and Palo accepted.

The third round contains Iordachescu-Sasikiran, an important game between two players who are off to a good start. Hillarp will take on Nakamura in a battle between two of the great fighters of the tournament. Berg Hansen and Hermansson have both gotten bad starts both really need a win in their game. Timman-Hector looks like an interesting creative duel, while Palo-Hansen features the established Danish star against the next generation.

In other words, spending Sunday afternoon at Hipp is a good idea for all chess fans. GM Brynell will comment on the games. The round starts at 2 pm (14:00).

First round summary

The first round games lasted 60 moves on average. No draw epidemic so far and several interesting games. Maybe Nakamura's uncompromising attitude has affected all players?

Nakamura-Hansen was the only draw but could have been decided if Curt (according to had found the very strong move 22. - e5!. However, Curt probably considers a draw against the US champion a good start, he is now set to have his revenge after his loss against Berg Hansen in the Danish Championships playoff.

Sune Berg has always had problems against Hector and this round was no exception. 0-1 after 90 moves. He has otherwise shown good form and the Danish fans will hopefully see him bounce back right away.

The Danish team suffered another loss when Palo lost a rook ending against Timman, who once again showed his excellent endgame technique.

The Swedish team did not do much better, with Hermansson and Hillarp losing to Sasikiran and Iordachescu, respectively. The foreign guests got the best start overall.

In the second round the most interesting games are Hansen-Timman and Hector-Nakamura. Sune Berg might go for a win with black against Hillarp, a dangerous but interesting try. Palo will try to hold off Sasikiran with the black pieces, while Hermansson will play white against Iordachescu.


You can see them here

Read about Nakamura

Read about Nakamura here

Welcome to Sigeman 2005

The Limhamn Chess Club and the Copenhagen Chess Federation are proud to invite the players, the chess audience, the media and the sponsors to the thirteenth annual Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament.

For the third year in a row, the Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament is co-arranged by the Malmo-based Limhamn Chess Club and the Copenhagen Chess Federation.

The first five rounds will be played at the classical Hipp Theater in the center of Malmo, and the tournament will be concluded with four rounds in Copenhagen (at Quality Hotel in Hoje Taastrup).

This year’s tournament contains a number of promising young players, the most interesting of those being last year’s US champion, the 17-year-old chess prodigy Hikaru Nakamura. Nakamura’s development in many ways resembles the early years of chess legend Bobby Fischer. At fifteen, he became the youngest US grandmaster ever. Other contenders for first place are the experienced Danish grandmaster Curt Hansen and 24-year-old Krishnan Sasikiran from India. There are also two outsiders: former world championship contender Jan Timman from Holland, and the Moldavian grandmaster Viorel Iordachescu.

Another interesting young player in the tournament is the 19-year-old Danish international master Davor Palo, who will try to secure his third and final grandmaster norm. The tournament also contains another three seasoned grandmasters in Tiger Hillarp-Persson and Jonny Hector, both from Sweden, and Denmark’s Sune Berg-Hansen. The tenth player is Swedish international master Emil Hermansson, who will be looking to secure a grandmaster result.

With many uncompromising players there is reason to hope for an exciting tournament. Aggressive players like Nakamura, Sasikiran, Hillarp-Persson and Hector will certainly generate some interesting battles. It is very hard to tell who the favorite is and we can all look forward to ten days of top level chess.

The arrangers would like to thank the city of Copenhagen, the city of Malmo, the Danish Chess Federation, the Copenhagen Chess Federation, Stotteforeningen, Quality Hotel Hoje Taastrup, the Swedish Chess Academy, the law firm Sigeman & Co, TT-Line, the Wallin & Dalholm print shop, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, the Rafstedt ad agency, the Clarion Hotel Malmo, Axis Communications, Galvano Service, Kakel & Tegel in Veberod, Carlsberg, Foreningssparbanken and all others who have helped in making this arrangement possible.

Once again, welcome to the thirteenth annual Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament.


Round 1 April 15 14.00-21.00 (Malmø)
Round 2 April 16 14.00-21.00 (Malmø)
Round 3 April 17 14.00-21.00 (Malmø)
Round 4 April 18 14.00-21.00 (Malmø)
Round 5 April 19 14.00-21.00 (Malmø)
Round 6 April 21 14.00-21.00 (Høje Taastrup)
Round 7 April 22 14.00-21.00 (Høje Taastrup)
Round 8 April 23 14.00-21.00 (Høje Taastrup)
Round 9 April 24 14.00-21.00 (Høje Taastrup)

Entry fee

Entry fee will be 30 Swedish Kronor in Malmø per day or 120 skr for all 5 days.

In Høje Taastrup it is 30 Danish Kroner per day or 100 dkr for all 4 days.