Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Malitis Memorial

The MCC is currently running a 7 round tournament commemorating the life of stalwart club member Edwin Malitis. The tournament is changing it's style this year from a straight 7-round swiss to an 8 player round robin for the top 8 rated players, and a 7 round swiss for all other players. This is an interesting format that is also being used at Noble Park Chess Club for their Masters and Challengers event, though they have a 10 player round robin backed by a 9 round swiss.

The Round Robin section of the Malitis Memorial was organised a little haphazardly with some doubt who the players were going to be, even as the first round was being played! I think that in the future it would be good to finalise a field for the top tournament prior to the starting date, and limit the second tournament to players rated below the lowest rated player in the top section. I think this was the method used by Noble Park, and they have used this format before. Anyway, the 8 players for the round robin are:

1. Tom Narenthran (2002)
2. Omar Bashar (1972)
3. Malcolm Pyke (2088)
4. David Cannon (1989)
5. Carl Gorka (2116)
6. IM Mirko Rujevic (2179)
7. Thai Ly (1974)
8. Simon Schmidt (2039)

The early leaders of this event are Mirko Rujevic and David Cannon who are both on 2/2 while Simon Schmidt sits on 1.5. The first round game between Malcolm Pyke and Tom Narenthran has been postponed.

The Swiss section has about 30 players registered which is a good sized field for the Malitis Memorial. In years gone by this tournament has struggled to get numbers playing and so having close to 40 players in 2 sections must be considered a good achievement by the MCC. The tournament is very competitive and I wouldn't like to pick a winner. Eamonn O'Molloy is the top seed at 1946 but 18 players are rated over 1700 and I guess they must all feel they have a chance, as will some lower rated players. In fact, after 2 rounds only 3 players have scored a maximum 2/2, David Lacey, Mehmedalija Dizdarevic and Tristan Krstevski. As a 7 round swiss, although the tournament is only just started, it is almost half way over, so there isn't time for anyone to have an off day, or they could find themselves dropping down the field.

My tournament has started abysmally with 2 losses. In the first round I lost to top seed, IM Mirko Rujevic from what I believe was a good position. Then in the second round I lost to young David Cannon after once again, getting a pretty good position with the black pieces.

Here is my first round tragedy against Mirko:

This endgame is absolutely level. Black is pressing cut can make no headway so long as white does nothing. However, like many amateur chess players (and with little time on the clock) I couldn't manage to sit tight and do nothing feeling the pressure rise. Moves like Bd2, or Bh4 and shuffling around would probably have lead to a draw. But as white I played 1.h4?. Mirko took no time to play 1..Ra1 2.Bd2 [A rook check on e1 must be prevented] 2..Rg1. It was about here that I started regretting pushing my h-pawn.

I defended my g-pawn by 3.Kf3 but Mirko deflected me with 3..e4+! after which there is no defence. 4.Kxe4 Rxg4+ 5.Kf3 Rxh4 and Mirko's passed g-pawn was decisive.

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