Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Congratulations Guy West on victory number 11

Before saying anything else, my thoughts today have been overwhelmed by the events that happened in Boston. I was at work early this morning, came home and Caroline asked if I'd heard about the Boston Marathon. I said no, thinking perhaps the 2 hour barrier had been broken or some other amazing feat. When she said about bombs and deaths, my heart sank and I turned to the online news sites to see the shocking truth. I can't begin to understand how those who were in proximity to the blasts must be feeling. Life is often a hard enough act to get through without people doing things like this. I don't even want to believe that 8 year old was killed in this disgusting manner. It's a tragedy that hasn't affected me personally, but which I can feel empathy for. My thoughts are with the runners and their families and I hope those injured recover quickly.

Events like the Boston Marathon bombings put our lives into perspective somewhat, but ordinary things do happen. Here in Melbourne the MCC Championship concluded with IM Guy West finishing in first place for a record 11th time. On winning the event Guy said that he would need to take some time out of chess, possibly a year, to work on strengthening his opening repertoire if he wants to compete with the rising crop of young players coming through. He may have a point, with Ari Dale coming an excellent second, and Justin Tan equal third. Perhaps we will see a 2014 Guy West playing solid mainlines looking for minor advantages to be converted later in the game. Or perhaps he just needs that long to devise a new bunch of sidelines that no one expects. Either way, it will be great to see Guy going for a dozen MCC Championships the next time he plays. I wonder if anyone will come near that number in the future?

Coming equal third with Justin Tan was Laurent Michaille who also had an excellent tournament. Jack Puccini won a last round upset to finish just half a point behind third, but in doing so he took the U-2000 prize. James Cameron took out the U-1800 prize in his first MCC Championship. While this does seem rather a high rating class for the lowest rating group prize, it does show that the standard of the players were high. The rating prizes were based on dividing the field into roughly equal groups below 2000 so it shows that the majority of players in the field were certainly above 1800. The fact that it was a small field is another issue and one that I'll leave for another time.

On a last note, I have to say that Paul Cavezza has done marvelous work with the MCC website. There are educational and promotional video's, pgn databases, history, information, a calendar of events. It has just about everything you would want of a chess website in an attractive format. Check out this page of the 2013 Club Championship.

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