Tuesday, June 23, 2015

City of Melbourne Open: Penultimate Round

Going into the penultimate round of the City of Melbourne Open at the MCC I was leading the tournament by half a point from Hoai Nam Nguyen and we paired to play. We had previously met in the final round of the club championship when I'd been half a point ahead of Nam. In that game, Nam won, and jumped ahead of me in the championship finishing =2nd to my 4th. As for the current event, the player in the lead of the event has succumbed to the pressure and been beaten continually since round 4. So I was very happy to break this run, and win my game against Nam to take a one point lead into the final round.

The top 2 seeds of the event, FM Jack Puccini, and IM Mirko Rujevic both won to stay within a point of me. I was sitting next to Jack who played the Najdorf against Mehmedalija Dizdarevic. Dizdarevic chose 6.Bg5 and Jack sacrificed a pawn to completely unbalance the position. The game was sharp, with play on both sides of the board, and somehow Dizdarevic found himself with an advanced passed h-pawn, much like in the Poisoned Pawn variation of the French Winawer. A blunder cost him that pawn, and then the game. Meanwhile the veteran IM Rujevic, was playing another veteran in Richard Voon who had been having an excellent tournament. Mirko won, but was "lucky" according to Richard. I can't say I saw much of the game, just a mess of a middlegame at some point. Whether Mirko was lucky or not in the game, he won which he does more often than not.


7/8 Gorka
6/8 FM Puccini, IM Rujevic
5.5/8 Schmidt, Cannon, Nguyen
5/8 Dizdarevic, Pyke, Voon, Lacey, Krstevski, Yu

It has been a good tournament for juniors David Cannon and Tristan Krstevski and Bobby Yu who find themselves among the leading places. David is the highest placed player below 2000, while Tristan is leading the under 1900 category with Richard Voon. Bobby is the current leader in the under 1750 category.

The rating prizes are all based on FIDE ratings which means in the under 1600 category the leading score is 3/8 with 7 players sharing that score. Simon Dale, Tanya Kolak, Zhi Xin Guo, Natalie Bartnik, Tanya Krstevska, Edwin Zou and John Beckman. It makes for an interesting final round!

I was very happy with my endgame.
39.Be4! Forcing an exchange of queens which will stop any counterplay black has. White's 2 bishops will dominate this endgame with pawns on both sides of the board. 39..Qxd2 40.Bxd2 Nc5 41.Bd5
Not only do white's bishops dominate, but black's king will not be taking part in this game. 41..b6 42.Be3 Nd7 43.Bc4 h6
As in all endgames, both sides seek a way to bring their king into the action. 44.Kf2 Kh7
My next move was my favourite move that I've played in the tournament so far. 45.Bf7. This effectively stops black's king from entering the game while white's king is ready to move to the queenside to help the bishops attack black's pawns. After this, as we were both playing on the increment, Nam couldn't find a way back into the game, even if there is one, and about 10 moves later, he resigned.

Here's the game, which might give some players inspiration for a crazy line to play against the Sicilian Sveshnikov. Enjoy!

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