The second cycle of the Unive Crown Group in Hoogeveen got underway today, and round 4 just finished. In the first cycle Hikaru Nakamura defeated Anish Giri in their game (as he had in the London Grand Prix), but this time Giri "held" with White. It was a pretty interesting Catalan, and those of you shopping for an anti-Catalan line with Black may wish to consider Nakamura's approach.
Meanwhile, Sergei Tiviakov showed that while his opening choices are ludicrously predictable, they aren't automatically easy to handle. On this occasion, however, his opponent, women's world champion Hou Yifan, was well prepared. She came out of the opening in good enough shape, and thanks to 21...d4! 22.Bxd4 Nxd4 23.Qxd4 g5! stood better. Unfortunately for her, 25...Bf4 was an error. It's understandable that she was concerned about the threat of Qxf7+, but it turns out that 25...Ng3! was very strong. Black stands clearly better, and in case of 26.Qxf7+? Kh8 White has so many tactical liabilities that Black is winning.
Instead, Hou played 25...Bf4?, and after the obvious and strong 26.Ne4! Tiviakov was in charge. There were plenty of mistakes the rest of the way - some of them huge - but Black was never able to get all the way back into the game, and White eventually won in a rook ending.
After four rounds, Nakamura leads with 3 points. Tiviakov has 2.5, Giri 1.5 and Hou Yifan 1. Tomorrow's pairings are Tiviakov-Giri and Hou-Nakamura, and in the last round it will be Giri-Hou and Nakamura-Tiviakov.