Saturday, March 30, 2013

I'm Stunned...

I wake up this morning to the most stunning news in the chess World:

- Magnus Carlsen has lost with white against struggling Ivanchuk

- Kramnik beats Aronian with black pieces to take the outright lead

- MCC's Richard Voon is on a display board at Doeberl Cup!!!

The Candidates has gone completely nuts with a big change at the top. Vladimir Kramnik takes outright lead for the first time in the tournament after Levon Aronian failed to hold on in what apparently was an even endgame (I'll have a look at some of these even endgames later). Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen loses his first game since the Grand Prix Final in Sao Paulo last October (against Caruana) and finally cracks under what must surely be the most amazing pressure. So with 2 rounds to go, there are really now only 2 possible winners of the event, Kramnik and Carlsen. Aronian is now 1.5 behind Kramnik so while he has a mathematical chance, I think we can count him out and call it a 2 horse race. So it remains to be seen whether Carlsen can bounce back after a loss, or indeed whether Kramnik can maintain his amazing form in this second half of the tournament where he has scored 4.5/5. Personally, I would like to see Carlsen take the event if only so that we get a new challenger for the World Title. However, as I said right at the start at the event, whoever wins will no doubt deserve it, and if that is Kramnik, then good on him.

In Canberra, the Premier tournament continues to see upsets with lots of draws holding players up somewhat. One player who isn't being held up is Levante Vajda. Last year he came equal first after starting with a strong 4.5/5. This year he has started just as strong with 4/4 and is currently involved in a stodgy battle with Indian GM Sethuraman, the sort of game that has brought him success this year. Sethuraman is also on 4/4, and they are half ahead of top seed GM Li Chao of China who dropped half a point to Australian prodigy FM Bobby Cheng. Cheng won the Australian Open in January and has continued in fine form at the start of Doeberl, sitting on 3/4 in a big group of players just behind the leaders.

My club, the Melbourne Chess Club (MCC), is well represented in Canberra. In the Premier we can claim Cheng who is a life member of the club, FM Dragicevic who is also on 3/4 after starting the tournament in excellent form beating IM Ly and GM Varga already, GM Johansen (another life member) and FM Stojic both on 3/4. IM James Morris sits on 2.5, (as does Justin Tan who I'm not sure has joined the club this year, but has been an active member in the past...we at MCC wish Justin well whether he is a member or not!), David Garner and Ari Dale on 2, David Beaumont and Jack Puccini are on 1 point, while Felix Wyss is yet to get off the mark.

In the Major (U-2000), MCC have a player on top board, none other than veteran Richard Voon. Richard is one of 11 players on 2/2 in the 7-round swiss which basically is a lose a game and your out type of event! Half a point behind the leaders are a large group including MCC regulars Dimitry Partsi, Jason Chew and Andrew Saint, while Gary Bekker, Rad Chmiel, Anthony Hain, Finley Dale and Sarah Anton all sit on 1/2. Also playing from the MCC are Ray Yang (.5) and Angelo Tsagarakis (.5, unable to recreate Ballarat form).

The Minor (U-1600) is another 7 round swiss with an MCC presence. Daniel Dobos is one of 11 players on a perfect 2/2, while Gerard Barta who I haven't seen for a long time is on 1.5. Hannibal Swartz is on 1/2 while Paul Cavezza is on .5/2.

Again, I wish everyone good luck in their games and especially MCC players. By the way, my apologies if I left anyone out from the MCC, just let me know and I'll add you in. :)

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Justin is an MCC member this year !