I also haven't been following the GM tournament in Holland as closely as I'd usually do either. I've heard that the Budapest Gambit has been used a couple of times successfully, but I haven't seen the games. One game that did impress me came from the second group. The game was from an Open Sicilian where white set up a Maroczy Bind (pawns on c4 and e4) and then played f4 as well to build up an imposing centre. He then just developed his pieces behind this pawn mass and walloped his opponent on the kingside. What makes it more impressive is white (IM Benjamin Bok, 2560) was much lower rated than black (Yu Yangyi, 2677).
Following chess isn't the same as playing it though. I did have great intentions of putting in a ton of work into my game this week, but 40+ C temps put paid to that, and virtually everything else I wanted to do! So I've got to get back to work on my game. I do have some incentives to work hard. First I'll be playing in 2 tournaments, the MCC Club Championship which will run on consecutive Mondays from the start of February. This tournament always attracts a strong filed and I see that already IM Ari Dale and FM Dusan Stojic are in the field. I'll also be playing on Friday nights at Glen Eira Chess Club. After setting up the club last year, we want to pick up things a notch or 2. We are going to run 3 x 7 round swiss events through the year with each event qualifying 3 players through to a final club championship. The qualifiers will be low entry fee and no prize money events, but the end of year tournaments will have big prizes, including a $1000 prize for club champion. We tried to drum up some interest at the Australian Championship for the club, and were lucky to get a "probably" from IM James Morris who lives just a few blocks away from the venue.
I've also got my work cut out teaching chess this year. I'm taking on some stronger students, which will test my ability to take players from the 1200-1500 range through towards 1800-2000+. While I'm fairly clear on how the curriculum is going to run, it never hurts to have tons of material, so my work will also hopefully help with my teaching. Because of this higher level coaching I've agreed to run a lecture at the MCC on February 1st at 6.30 pm. Come along, it should be fun and a critical audience will help me to hone my advanced teaching skills!