Upsets i round 7

Surprisingly, both field grandmasters lost in the seventh round, making the tournament very exciting heading into the final day of play. Icelandic player GM Vignir Vatnar Stefansson chose a tricky opening with the black pieces, and although he emerged from it with his honor intact, his compatriot Stephan Briem ultimately managed to win the game.

On the top board, Axel Falkevall played with the black pieces against Romanian GM David Gavrilescu, and it seemed like a lost cause for Axel fairly early in the game. However, White’s latest move, 30.Qd2-c3, wasn’t the best and allowed Axel to complicate the position.

30…Nf3†! The only chance, but also a strong move. 31.Bxf3 31.gxf3 is also possible, but Black’s pieces quickly get closer to the white king after 31…gxf3 32.Bf1 Ng4! 31…gxf3 32.Bd6 Qd8 33.c7 Qd7 34.Be5 Ne8 35.Bxg7 Nxg7 36.Nd4 Rc8 37.Rc1 Ne8 38.Nc6? When the pawn on c7 disappears, White’s major advantage also disappears. Now it’s Black who’s in the driver’s seat. 38…Rxc7 39.gxf3 f6! 40.Kh1 Kh8 41.b5 Qh7 42.Rg1 Qh6! And now the position is completely won for Axel. A truly surprising turnaround. 43.f4 Rh7 44.Rg2 Bh3 45.Rg3 Bg4 46.Kg1 Qxh2† 47.Kf1 Qh1† 48.Rg1

The finish is elegant. 48…Qxg1†! After 49.Kxg1 Bf3! there’s no way to defend against Rh1 with checkmate. White resigned.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, the Uppsala Young Champions concludes with two rounds, and going into them, three players are leading with 5 points – Axel Falkevall, Hampus Sörensen, and David Gavrilescu. It’s not a bold guess to say that the tournament winner will likely be found among these three.

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