|The day before Canberra, relaxing at Black Rock|
So while I'm not going to go into the chess preparation I went into before the tournament began, here's a couple of ideas from the first days play at the Doeberl Cup in Canberra.. In round 1, Svetozar Stojic continued his good form this year with a draw against Indian GM Roy Chowdhury. IM's Moulthun Ly and James Morris also had to give u half a point to Jonas Muller and WIM Emma Guo respectively. While there were some other surprises, probably the biggest upset was IM Andrew Brown losing to Wenlin Yin. Personally, I was quite close to the half way mark and was hoping for a few players to take byes in the first round so that I could play a Grand Master. Unfortunately, that was not to be and I ended up in the top half on one of the bottom boards. I struggled to get any advantage early on, but then managed to build up some space which squeezed my opponent, and I won the game.
|On the drive to Canberra, a stop at Holbrook to see a submarine 500 km's from the sea!|
The second round saw no big upsets and 19 players remain on 2/2. I found the going quite hard toward the end of my game, and I think I wasn't the only one. It is quite tiring playing 2 games in a day with a finish close to 11 pm. So with that in mind, it was probably unwise for me to allow my game to blow up into a wild and complicated mess which my opponent, FM Tristan Boyd managed far better than I did. A crucial moment in the game was this.
I was playing black in a what started as a Nimzo Indian and was now preparing c5, when Tristan threw a spanner in the works. 15.f4!? To be honest, I was expecting something on that side of the board, but underestimated my opponent's chances. I should have carried on with the plan of 15..c5 with a tense game, but instead chose to add flames to the fire with 15..Ng4
I was expecting 16.Rf3 when I was planning 16..f5, though white might just be able to sacrifice a piece on f5 for a pretty vicious attack. However, I hadn't really considered the move that was actually played which shows a weakness in my thinking. 16.e4!? This completely threw me and I didn't find the best continuation, and went on to lose to an excellent attack that Tristan created. Funnily enough I talked about this subject of changing the pace of the game to IM James Morris recently who considers it a crucial skill for a chess player to have. It is certainly important to be ready for your opponent's tactical chances, and for when they might just roll the dice and go for it.