Sigeman 2011 ended yesterday night with a 3-way tie for first: Wesley So, Anish Giri, and Hans Tikkanen. Giri and Tikkanen faced off today, with Giri attempting to win the tournament outright by playing an aggressive variation of the Grunfeld as black. Giri sacrificed a pawn with 11. …b6!? to gain counterplay on the open c-file, however Tikkanen was able
to neutralize black’s initiative through multiple exchanges to achieve a R+N endgame with an extra pawn. Giri’s active pieces compensated his material deficit and he was able to regain the pawn and hold the draw. Alexei Shirov was pressing in his game against Nils Grandelius, however Nils was able to reduce the tension by forcing multiple exchanges with 19. Bf4.
The only decisive game of Round 5 was Jonny Hector’s desperate attack against Wesley So, starting with an aggressive line against the French Defense with 6. h4!?. Hector sacrificed a piece with 19. Bg6?!, followed by another unsound sacrifice with 24. Rxg7+?. Black took a walk with his king, forcing white to resign in the face of unstoppable mate after 31. Kf2! This game was very exciting and propelled So into the tie for first. Ice cold defense and calm calculation enabled So to coach himself through the complicated mess that Hector created and end the game with a solid win.
By Chess Coach Will Stewart (USCF 2256, FIDE 2234)