Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MCC Championship Resumes

After the week off for the Ballarat Weekender, the Melbourne Chess Club Championship resumed last night. I thought it was very considerate of the London Candidates to schedule a rest day so as not to clash with the MCC Ch. However, it was unfortunate that the live coverage of the top board game seemed to stick after about 20 moves when things were getting interesting. IM Guy West was leading the tournament with 5/5 before the week off. Last night he played young gun Justin Tan. To be honest I was not sure about the play up to the loss of transmission. First I thought Justin was doing ok when he advanced e5, then I thought Guy was doing ok when Justin sacrificed a pawn in the centre (I thought Guy should have taken with the pawn, but I could understand the queen capture as well). In the position at the end of transmission I couldn't work out who I'd rather be.

It's white to move, and although he is a pawn ahead, he has to lose his e4 pawn, and the e3 pawn will be a permanent weakness. However, the 2 bishops and the open centre give compensation, and the split of pawns with no majorities would lean toward drawish tendencies. In fact the game ended in a draw, which keeps Guy outright leader on 5.5. Ari Dale closed the gap with West to half a point with a big win against FM Dusan Stojic, while a further half point back are FM's Chris Wallis and Domogoj Dragicevic.

There were also some upsets in this round. Paul Kovacevic continued his excellent tournament drawing with David Beaumont. Jason Chew caused a bigger upset winning against experienced campaigner Richard Voon. But the result of the night was Finley Dale's draw with IM Mirko Rujevic. Mirko is not having his best tournament, but nevertheless this is a huge result for young Finley.

There are still 3 rounds to go and a lot of chess to be played here. I would say that anyone within 1.5 of Guy still has a chance (slim, but still a chance) while almost half the field could finish in the places with a 3/3 finish.

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