Wednesday, May 23, 2012

City of Melbourne Open Round 4

The City of Melbourne Open reached the stage where all the games were competitive. As an example of this, my game went for over 3 hours and there were still games in progress as I left. Before the round started there were 3 players on a perfect score. None of these players were able to maintain their all conquering record. My game against Ari Dale was fascinating, far from error free, but a great contest which eventually finished in a draw. I won't say more than that now, as I intend to annotate this game in depth soon. The other player who started on 3/3 was David Beaumont, but he lost to the talented French player Laurent Michaille. These results leave myself, Dale and Michaille leading on 3.5/4. However, things are still closely packed after that with a group of 5 players on 3/4 just half a point behind, and a further 3 players another half point back. So with over 10 players within a point of the lead a lot can change, and I expect the tournament to start sorting itself out over the next couple of rounds.

Victorian Championship:

During Monday night a postponed game from the Victorian Championship was played with Domagoj Dragicevic defeating Tristan Stevens. This brings Domagoj back to 2/4 after a poor start. However, he is still a way off the pace as the Victorian Championship has been dominated this year by the IM's. IM James Morris has started with a perfect 4/4. He is closely followed by IM's Goldenberg and Sandler on 3.5 and IM West on 3. The tournament hasn't reached half way yet, so much can change though the 4 above named players will be tough to catch.

World Championship:

I'm currently writing this blog post while game 9 of the World Championship is being played. I have to admit to not being fully charged by this match. The first half of the match was not particularly exciting with 6 dour draws (ok, there were some interesting moments but they were few and far between). Then both players exchange blunders in consecutive games to lose rather than win games. Of course, both Anand and Gelfand are great players, but neither of them seem to be performing to their best in this match. If this is the case, or if one of the players is not on top form, then a match can be a poor spectator event. In this respect I would be more than happy to see the format for the event changed to a tournament, possibly a match tournament such as the Mexico City event of 2007 (coincidentally Anand won that and Gelfand had a good result finishing third). This was an 8-player double round robin and with 4 games each round, there is almost always at least 1 game of interest every day. It also seems strange to me that virtually all events in the World of chess are conducted by tournaments, but the World Championship in played under a different format, the match format.

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