Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I have to play...

I thought I was going to have a bit of a break from chess, but I forgot that I'd committed to play for my club, the Melbourne Chess Club in the Victorian Teams Championship. So Sunday I am having to play a game of chess in the middle of my 'vacation'. To be honest, I'm ok with that and am looking forward to the game. It isn't until the late afternoon, so I'll be able to have a lie in and spend some time with my wife in the morning. I guess the thing that springs to mind for me is how little do you have to play to get rusty? I'm not in that shape yet, I would hope. My last serious game was only a few weeks ago, and I've been working at the game in the meantime. In fact, I'm hoping the couple of weeks without playing chess makes me fresher. We'll see come the weekend.

Looking at the field for the British Championship one name sticks out as a comeback player, GM Matthew Turner. Turner worked his way up to the GM level in the late 1990's gaining the title in 2002. However, he didn't play much tournament chess after that, though he has continued with chess as a teacher at Millfield School and as a player in the 4NCL in Britain. I wonder what it's like for a GM to play little chess and then come to a tournament like the Championship? Is Turner rusty? Not if his first game is anything to go by. I'm guessing that Charley Storey wasn't the player that Matthew Turner would have liked to have played in the first round. Storey is a dangerous attacker. But it was the GM in charge of the tactics and when the dust settled Storey had 2 rooks for a queen, but chronically weak light squares.

After 2 rounds there are now 6 players on a perfect score, GM's Jones, Gordon, Arkell, IM Hawkins and Hugh Murphy and James Jackson who both came through the acceleration to beat IM opposition in the second round. The rest of the GM's all sit half a point back along with Don Mason who won his second round game to line up a test against former champion GM Conquest.

The Championship is only the main event of the festival and in this first week there are currently age group championships for under 16, under 13 and under 11 taking place as well as non championship events of which the most notable has traditionally been the Major Open, though this year it seems smaller than in years gone by. The format of the British Championship allows for players to double up in events. For example, Radha Jain is playing the under 16 Championship in the morning and the Championship in the afternoon! Full on! To think, I'm worried about getting worn out by playing 40-50 games per year!

Stop Press: I've just heard Morozevich has had to withdraw from Biel through illness. :(

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