This was the position last night between Nakamura and Aronian. Aronian as black has to move his queen, but chose the unfortunate 30..Qb5?? which allowed the simple refutation, 31.Qxb5 axb5 32.Nd7 where white will win an exchange as 32..Rfe8 allows the fork 33.Nf6+. The game continued for not much longer and my tip for the event was already off the pace. I suppose the good thing is that the first round of a tournament is probably the best time to lose, as you have the rest of the event to catch up. However, this is only a 6 round tournament, so Aronian will have to take some risks if he is to catch his rivals. Tonight Aronian plays Carlsen which will be an epic battle. The World number 1 already won a nice game against Kamsky in the first round, and will be looking to consolidate his position.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, the MCC started a new 9 round event last night. The MCC Open is a 9 round event played on consecutive Monday nights with a break for the long weekend at the start of November. The first round didn't see much in the way upsets. The only win against the seedings was Finlay Dale's win against Jack Puccini though when 2 young players meet it is difficult to really call things too much of an upset. I'm sure Jack will bounce back. Top seed in the 26 player field is IM Mirko Rujevic while Malcolm Pyke is second seed, just like in the last event. Mirko was almost unstoppable then, and I will tip him for this event too (sorry Mirko if my tipping curse continues). The MCC has also announced a Sunday quad event for October. I really like this idea. Groups of 4 players play a small round robin over a day, playing 3 games at a rate of about 60 minutes + 30 second increment. The games will be ACF rated and I could even be persuaded to play one of these myself. I will of course not be tipping myself as that would be tantamount to sporting suicide.
Finally, the MCC has re instituted the Endgame Group which I established a long time back. The idea was for players to come together to talk about endgames, to practice playing from endgame positions and generally to strengthen that part of their game. Older players might remember when we used to do this during adjournments, but since they no longer happen, studying endgames has fallen behind other parts of the game, such as tactics or openings, in the priorities of a modern player using modern time controls. The endgame group had a small but loyal following when I was running it, but it never really achieved what I aimed for it which was for all members to contribute material to be discussed. Perhaps I was unrealistic in thinking this could be the case, and really a group needs one or just a few to lead it. This is basically what happened. Well, though I ran the group for about 2 years, my work commitments got in the way, and I had to step aside and there was no one to take over my role and the Endgame Group fell away. Now FM Bill Jordan is running the group which started up again a few weeks ago. Bill is an excellent teacher of chess, and his knowledge of endgames is pretty good. There isn't a player in Melbourne who wouldn't gain something from these groups, and especially useful is the practical element as even if players do study endgames, there just isn't much opportunity to put these ideas into practice. MCC Endgame Group is running on Tuesday nights, and again, if I wasn't working, I'd be there. Hopefully, some of the endgames I post on this blog can make it to the endgame group to discuss.