Tuesday, May 19, 2015

City of Melbourne Open round 5

Due to some work changes I found myself at the MCC early. I walked into the main tournament hall, and placed my stuff by my board and looked up to see the official banner of the 2016 Australian Championship.

I usually arrive with moments to spare, or with time already on the clock, so I felt fairly relaxed, and had time to chat a bit and look around. I even had time to head to Brunswick Street for a coffee before the game.
Richard Voon is always ready for a chat
Round 4 of the City of Melbourne Open saw little in the way of upsets. Only one game in the top 10 boards went againt the rating, and that was Justin Penrose's victory against Hoai Nam Nguyen, but Penrose is an accomplished player so I take it as only a small upset. The field is beginning to spread out with myself, Carl Gorka, leading on 4/4 followed by IM Mirko Rujevic and Justin Penrose on 3.5. While last week I couldn't begin to guess who I might play, I can quite confidently say that the top board game next week will be Rujevic-Gorka.

IM Mirko Rujevic just half a point from the lead
I feel as if I'm in pretty good form, but Mirko is absolutely fearless. Playing against talented youngster David Cannon, Mirko didn't hesitate to play the Two Knights opening. I sat eagerly watching to see whether David would throw his knight to g5, but he opted for the safer 4.d3 instead of testing Mirko's calculation in a critical opening.

FM Jack Puccini heads the group of players on 3/4. He is joined by Malcolm Pyke and Simon Schmidt, who are both doubling up in the Victorian Championships, Richard Voon, Zhi Lin Guo and the brilliancy prize winner from the Club Championship, David Lacey.

Brilliancy Prize winner, David Lacey
Further down the field, the Zou brothers both scored good draws, Edwin against Tanya Krstevska, and Brendan against Gary Bekker, while Tanya Kolak had a good win against Stephen Jago.

My game finished abruptly when my opponent misjudged a position in a Hedgehog type Sicilian. I'm no great expert, but black has a very tough job of sitting and waiting for white's advances and being ready to strike at the right moment.

Black has just thrown his knight into e5 feeling that white would have to protect the pawn with b3. I managed to punish this aggression by playing 15.g5 Nfd7 16.f4!

My opponent, Efrain Tionko, couldn't find a good continuation, so he went with 16..Nxc4? Unfortunately, after the forcing sequence 17.Bxc4 Qxc4 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.Rxc4 Bxc4 black has a rook, bishop and pawn for the queen.

Now after 20.Rc1 black's bishop is short of squares, while his other pieces display no activity. It didn't take too much to convert this to a sizeable material advantage.

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