Sunday, August 19, 2012

Best in the West Day 2

It's a bit darker in the playing room today so the photo's will have to wait until later. Round 3 saw more upsets as the new generation of young players look for scalps to take. Perhaps the biggest result in this respect in the whole tournament was Max Phillips win over Kyle Gibson. However, Haran Salasan's (661) draw with Roland Brockman (1559) was a pretty good effort too. The swiss draw has produced a few draws in the past few rounds, which has left just 4 players at the top, Canfell, Tan, Matheson and Dragicevic. With only 2 rounds to go, there is no fear of quick draws happening on the top boards, and the game Tan-Canfell is an opposite side castling English Attack in a Scheveningen Sicilian while Matheson-Dragicevic is a Spanish where white has played an early d3 and no pieces have been taken leading to a complicated strategic game. Anyway, these players know that if they don't win, the group behind are ready to take their places at the top.

I must admit, I am really enjoying sitting and watching the progress of this tournament. It is giving me the desire to play chess again, and I think I will resurface at the MCC Open and Noble Park Open. I am analysing games of kids and kibitzing with players and it's great fun. I'm having to remember all those Open Games tricks for the benefit of the kids and then look at strategic considerations in complex middlegame positions that the top players are contesting. And, I'm actually getting to see the games, and the body language of the players, something I usually miss out on when I'm playing as I stay so focussed on my own game.

The top boards are reaching crescendo point. Tan-Canfell is a classic with thrust and parry, and when it is uploaded to tornelo it will be a game not to miss. Last I looked Justin had all the play, but Greg was a pawn (at least 1) up. Justin seemed unhappy, but the position is so complicated I cn't begin to fathom who will win. On board 2 Domagoj is a pawn up, but Laurence has some compensation in better piece placement, though maybe not full compensation.

We have a clear leader now. Domagoj converted his material advantage against Laurence, and unless I'm fully off the mark, it will be an all Noble Park leaderboard, as it looks to me as if Justin Tan is beating Greg Canfell. I for one will not be wanting to play the black side of the Sicilian against Justin in the near future as this game shows just how awesome he has become....Ok, so what do I know. As great an attack as Justin built up, Canfell is up to the defence. Lesser players would have crumbled, but what makes the top players so good is how they can defend. Greg Canfell is now winning a game that most of us would have lost earlier. With both players in time trouble, Canfell held his nerve and defended all that needed defending. This is a must see game!

It's interesting talking to these 2 players after the game. Both were happy with their positions. Justin was looking at lots of breakthroughs and missed a bishop move that lost him the game. Greg, on the other hand felt that he could always defend, and was happy with Qf8 that he felt held his position together. With both players down to about 5 minutes each at that point I guess that adrenalin and time become factors in the final result as well....Greg Canfell is uploading the game now, so we should be able to see it in full in the next minute or 2!

Here it is. Enjoy!

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