Wednesday, July 4, 2012

City of Melbourne Open

This tournament was a resounding success for up and coming youngster Ari Dale. A draw in the last round secured him outright first place, and this comes on the back of his victories in the Asian Amateur and Victorian Championship Reserves tournaments. With these results, Ari moves from being a scalp taker to one of the hunted, and there seems no end to his steady improvement so by the time he takes his place in the Victorian Championship next year, he should be ready to step up against the best in the state. Ari was clear winner half a point ahead of Justin Penrose and Anthony Hain. Justin beat me in a complicated game, where I lost the drift as my time shortened but found myself consistently frustrated by Justin's dogged and imaginative defence. Anthony Hain has had a breakthrough tournament here, and one can only hope he continues the great form he has shown here. After a patchy start to the event, he has taken some big scalps at the end, concluding with Malcolm Pyke in the final round. Finishing joint second is just reward for the massive amount of work he puts into his game. If Anthony is reading this, then I will say, don't worry too much about a lack of consistency at the moment, the fact is you're generally getting much better and in time more consistent results must surely follow. David Lacey drew with Ari Dale in the last round, and has also had a big tournament finishing in sole fourth place. Like Anthony, David is also an inconsistent player sometimes upstaging much higher rated opponent's and at other times throwing things away against lower rated players. Here, he proved he can put it all together in one event and again, I hope that this consistency stays with him as we then have another 2000+ rated player in our midst soon.

The group of players on 5.5 includes most of the higher rated players in the event and most of us will be disappointed with our performance. I for one have already analysed my performance and have come to a definite conclusion as to where I am going wrong. Over the past 6 months, I have played too much chess. I know this might sound funny, but I think we all have to find the correct amount of chess to keep us in form, but also hungry to give it all each game. As a junior I could easily play 3 or 4 games a week and still want more. As a working adult I found that a game per week and maybe a couple of weekend tournaments was as much as I could fit in. Now, in my 40's I see roughly 50 games a year as the limit of what is good for me. So far in 2012, I have already played about 40 games and the second half of this tournament was not much fun. I lacked motivation to prepare and floundered when put under pressure. I conceded one short draw and came up with little if no depth of concept during this time. So I've decided, that I need a break from playing at least for the next tournament at the MCC. This should give me a bit of time to study, write and get a hunger back for playing to win.

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  1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, a pattern i have noticed are my shaky starts, i am trying to get rid of them, eg. MCC open of last year i was on 1/4 and finished on 6/9 beating Justin Tan in the last round of that tournement. All the best on your rest from tournement play.


  3. I haven't seen that 7.b4 line before Carl - is that something you came up with at the board? :) (I'm no expert on the Dutch of course.) Houdini recommends 7...a5 which looks better than what I played. It also pointed out a line beginning with 22.Nh4 Qh5 23.Re6 which is pretty crushing for White - seems I was pretty careless early on not playing ...Be6 or ...Qe8-f7 and challenging that a2-g8 diagonal :(

    - Justin Penrose

  4. Hi Justin, I have seen ideas with b4 in the Leningrad before but I was getting things mixed up a bit with c3 instead of c4. To be honest I forgot my repertoire and decided on a course of action at the board.

  5. Ah ok, one of the reasons I like the Dutch, people rarely encounter it so they can't just pump out their first fifteen moves from memory as with the QGD or Nimzo etc - also the positions Black gets usually offer more counterplay than the above, so I'm not sure why it's not more popular! :)