The fifth round pitted the leader, GM Robby Kevlishvili, against the first ranked GM Sergey Fedorchuk, the latter having the white pieces. This setting promised a lot of excitement for the spectators and the opening, a 6.Bg5 Najdorf, even more so. The play got sharp indeed, but Black got into trouble early and the thematic sacrifice 20.Nd5! decided the game in White’s favour.


On the second board GM Lucas van Foreest finally ended (or at least interrupted) the dream run of Tuomas Simola who had won all his three games so far (and taken a bye in round three). In an Open Catalan Black’s weakened king’s position gave White a lasting pressure and in the end Black’s king was duly mated.

On the third board FM Elham Abdrlauf chose the rare Vienna Opening (with transposition) against GM Kaido Külaots. The Vienna can sometimes lead to very exciting chess, but not today. Black equalized professionally and the balance was never shaken.

The computer pairings cruelly set brothers GM Victor and IM Alexander Mikhalevski against each other on the fourth board. With the older brother Alexander having the white pieces, I suppose most of us expected a quick draw and after twelve theoretical moves of Caro-Kann, this is indeed what happened.

We should remind you that this year’s edition of Heart of Finland is also the Nordic Championship. In this regard, the game between GM Héðinn Steingrímsson and IM Mika Karttunen had some added importance. The Icelandic had the upper hand after the opening (Ragozin Queen’s Gambit) and was clearly winning in the middlegame thanks to Black’s weak king. The Finn is known for his resourcefulness, however, and managed to muddle the position enough to escape.

Henri Lahdelma had swindled nicely GM Boris Chatalbashev in the previous round. Today he got a clear advantage against GM Gábor Nagy’s provocative opening. Yet on the 18th move he dropped a pawn and the Hungarian grandmaster converted his advantage with a steady hand.

IM Tarvo Seeman opened the game with a solid King’s Indian Attack against the young Swedish IM Jung Min Seo. Black was never in any trouble and slowly took over the important central squares. White’s troops got gradually uncoordinated and in the end, he was not able defend all his weaknesses.