ExplanationTonight, during the fifth round, host grandmaster John van der Wiel gave his by now traditional explanation (or also called explication: making text easier to understand). And traditionally this explanation took place on the night before the resting day halfway through the tournament.

It was a beautiful evening for us listeners and spectators, because young Nihal Sarin was allowed to discuss his beautifully won match – after his mother was asked for permission to do so – against Liam Vrolijk. John had a maximum of twenty minutes, but of course that turned into thirty. It was a fantastic experience to see this talent and hear his analyzes of the positions throughout the louder voice of John. Thus, because in the analysis room we can not use a microphone, because of the games that were still going on on the other side of the wall.

Fifth round
Natalia vs HugoThe first five players on top eventually turned into only one! Yes, Russian grand master Slava Ikonnikov – introduced to us by our friends from Vlissingen in Zeeland and since several years one of our regular participants in Leiden – is now, with the resting day in advance, in the lead with 4½ points. Ofcourse he still has a long way to go, but these points will not be taken away by anyone. A number of fellow ‘frontliners’ (Nihal Sarin, Chanda Sandipan, Valery Loginov, Hugo ten Hertog and Natalia Zhukova) were not able to score more than a draw so now they follow at half a point. But they are certainly still in position for the final victory. I myself find it unfortunate that Natalia Zhukova wasn’t able to cash her (computer) advantage against Hugo ten Hertog so that she too would be in the lead. It is quite unique to have a lady amongst the top players in the LCT, let alone a possible winner.

Next in line are Twan Burg, Sergei Lobanov, Arthur Pijpers, Thomas Beerdsen, Sharma Himanshu, Merijn van Delft, Shyaamnikhil P. and the big surprise so far of the tournament: Voorschotens talent Jip Damen! He has had many title holders so far and he scored 3½ points and a nice tpr of 2560. Just a few more extra scores and he will achieve an IM standard. In the B-group we find two leaders: Sander Hilarius (who won the B-group before) and Stefan Boeters with both 4½ points.

The daily prize went to the player whose score is zero – nil – zilch after four rounds. The ‘lucky’ winner of a book (lessons) from NIC is Niek van der Maat. After having received the prize he proved to have listened to my advice to make a quick draw in order to get rid of that irritating zero. And so he scored a draw and has now achieved ½ points.