Monday, May 23, 2011

MCC Open Round 4 live

On the 60th Birthday of ex World Champion Anatoly Karpov, it is fitting that the MCC should recognise nostalgia. The first occurrence to aid this was our printer running out of ink, which meant the pairings had to be produced by pen and paper. Secondly, the players were reminded about the upcoming Fitzroy Skittles event, bringing a tournament from the past back to the present. In the Skittles, players get assigned a certain number of points depending on their rating, and this represents the number of points they can lose before they are eliminated from the event. Even though this tournament is to be played at the allegro time control of 15 minutes per player, I reckon some of the long play adherents of Monday nights will be attracted to it.

The live game for the night sees 2 ex club champions battling it out on the top board, but there are interesting games throughout as the tournament starts to sort itself out.

Some interesting stuff early on. Firstly, one default as Stephen Jago had to pull out due to illness and we hope he has a speedy and full recovery. Besides that all the games have started, and Eddy Levi even managed to turn up less than 10 minutes late for his game. We have an interesting Anti Moscow gambit on board 3, Bird's Opening, a Leningrad Dutch, Chmiel has just got himself an IQP and a little space against Voon, Wyss looks to have a horrible position against Zelesco, we have oppsite castled Sicilian's and Dutch. Kevin Brown is going to become known as the man who won't castle.....until someone blows his king out of the centre! But the big news of the night is that Jim Papadinis has dumped the Colle/Torre/London systems against Dragicevic. I was so surprised I had to check the board and players twice!!

1 Hour gone

....and no games finished yet, though Gary Bekker looks close to winning. The news is: Mirko is behind on the clock, which is a bit unusual. On board 2 David Beaumont is behind on the clock which isn't unusual at all! The games on 3 and 4 are wild. Garner-Tan is a full blooded crazy Slav, while Shane Lawson has a terribly exposed king against an underdeveloped Eddy Levi. Domagoj has won a pawn against Jim Papadinis,  but Jim has some interesting looking king side threats. Richard Voon is tutting against Rad Chmiel who has placed all his pieces across the third rank. Felix Wyss has decided his king isn't safe on the king side and has started a march to the other side of the board....I'm not sure it will be much safer there! Anton-Lycett is a mad opposite sides castling Sicilian where it looks to me as if Gary has the initiative. These things can change pretty quickly though. Kevin Brown has finally castled, albeit queen side where he has advanced his pawns! And Abdullah Durani has a huge outpost on d6 in a Sicilian where white has exchanged knights on c6 and black recaptured with the b-pawn. Unfortunately, black never advanced his d-pawn!

On to some specifics. Frank Lekkas has sacrificed the exchange against Alex Kaplan. What For? You tell me, it's white's move:
Roger Beattie also has an interesting position where he is a pawn up and it his him (as black) to move against Mario Palma, but....

The board 3 game started crazily enough with David garner as white choosing the Anti Moscow Gambit against Justin Tan. Now white doesn't have a queen, but has plenty of compensation.
Justin as black is on move here, but I'm not sure I'd like to be playing either colour in this game!

The bottom board game between Michael hain and Ben frayle sees the age old question of knights versus bishops. White to move here:

2 Hours down

We have just had a flurry of activity as a number of games have just finished. Wonderkid Zelesco wins again, but Justin Tan was not so successful, losing to David Garner. To be honest he had chances if the analysis is anything to go by. It was a mighty interesting game. Some lower board games have also finished, with the prettiest finale going to Anthony Hain who made the most of his opponent's weak back rank in beautiful fashion.
White thought he was winning material after 1.Rxf7, but black won beautifully with 1..Rxc7 2.Rxc7 Nf2+ 3.Kg1 Nd3+!! (line closing the bishop) 4.Kh1 Rf1#

Papadinis sacrificed a lot but it didn't quite work against Dragicevic, while Gary Lycett won his wild game with Sarah Anton and Mario Palma converted the position from earlier against Roger Beattie. Adbullah Durani played in the style of birthday boy Karpov, fixing on a weakness with total doggedness, in this case the d6 square.

This endgame has been reached in the game Ogden-Lenard on board 20. I'm sure both these players wished they had come to our Wednesday  night endgame groups.

3 Hours down

Mirko is down to his last 10 minutes and the board is full. Morris-Beaumont is an opposite coloured bishop ending that should be drawn.
Shane Lawson seems to have got out of jail against Eddy Levi and his central king may now be a plus. John Dowling looks to have a good position but is down to 3 minutes against Richard McCart and the other Richard, Mr. Voon, has the 2 bishops against Rad Chmiel and seems to be pressing. Jack Puccini was a little unlucky against Roger McCart when he overstepped the time limit. That is something that he will need to address in the future, as it is the second game he has got into time trouble in this event. However, the save of the day may be from Frank Lakkas who was 2 pieces down at one point. I will attempt an interview with him regarding this game afterwards....lucky, or inspired?

The last report?
Tension is high in the back room on the top boards. Mirko is being put under the pump by Malcolm Pyke. Shane Lawson is holding his own against Eddy Levi. David Beaumont is also holding his own against James Morris, though David only has 1 minute left. John Dowling has less than a minute to convert what is probably a winning position against Richard McCart. The other games still in progress look to be wins for Kerry Stead, and Richard Voon. The game of the round was the "nervewracking" encounter between Lekkas and Kaplan.

Carl: Was the Exchange Sacrifice sound?
Frank: Yes, it's a theoretical position, that I've never had before... 

Carl: So what did you think then?
Frank: ... what do I do now ...?

Carl: Was there a checkmate at any stage?
Frank: No, I basically spent 40 minutes calculating the move following the exchange sac, realised Ng5 didn't work, looked at Bc4, thought it was much more sound after about 20 minutes and was about to play it. The problem was that I play Ng5 in the Bc4 line as well but at a later point, and the last move I checked in the line was after Ng5, so naturally when I decided it worked I played... Ng5

Carl: Did you consider resigning at any stage?
Frank: No

Carl: What about at the end? Did you think you had chances in the queen endgame, or just before that?
Frank: I was just trying to get it back to level ground after I blundered with Nf6. I thought I had chances with 3 pawns for the piece considering my pawns were so strong and black's knights were so weak and away from the action. The other thing was his king was so exposed by the time I had castled I thought I was almost winning. I'm pretty sure the queen ending is drawn, and even the king and pawn ending after Qc4 b5 Qxf7+ Kxf7.

Carl: Thanks Frank

Ok, that's it folks, but watch out for the ending between Morris and Beaumont, it is a cracker with James trying his hardest to win it.

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