Saturday, August 8, 2015

Glen Eira Chess Club

The club seems to have settled into a routine now, after being open for a bit over a year. We have about a dozen regular players, about another 5-10 occasional players, and a number of players who come along once in a while. Our year is made up of 4 tournaments and a load of free nights where social chess can be played. The four tournaments are all Swiss events with the first 3 being 7-round tournaments which qualify for the end of year 9-round championship.

We are currently into the last of these 7-round events and 2 of the 7 rounds have been played. There have only been 14 players involved in the tournament which is somewhat small compared to other events in the series, but the field is pretty good. I have had some enquiries from some other players, but I think we will probably have seen the field set now. Details of the tournament can be seen here, and I'll be putting out provisional draws each week:

The third round saw the first games between the top seeds. John Nemeth had to play against me, and it was the sort of game that neither player would really want to remember. I walked into a typical f7 sacrifice that had my king wandering around the centre of the board, but amazingly, John missed a clean win, and the game fizzled out to a position where I had a piece for 2 pawns, but my king was rather open. I offered a draw which John accepted. The final position was one that neither of us really fancied! Next door to me, IM James Morris was winning handily against Jerzy Krysiak while Nick Husek and Axel Ahmer were able to overcome tough opposition from juniors to win through.

Here's the moment when John dragged my king into the centre. 10.Bxf7+! Kxf7 11.Ne6!! sacrificing 2 pieces to bring black's king into the firing line. The king has to take, as the knight threatens to take black's trapped queen 11..Kxe6
The congestion behind black's king and an inevitable opening of lines in front mean that black is pretty much doomed here. James Morris made an interesting observation after the game. He was surprised that John didn't finish things off as James thought that calculation was one of John's great strengths. I guess that having too many tempting moves can be an issue and while John played a variation that looked unbelievably promising, I managed to throw some spanners in the works and ended up in relative safety. 12.Qc4 d5 13.Nxd5 [13.exd5 looks immediately terminal] 13..Bc5!? [Allowing double checks, discovered checks and threatening nothing, but trying to untangle the clump of black pieces]
Now what to play for white when there are so many tempting moves? A knight check, or double check, develop a new piece into the attack? Stockfish suggests 14.Bg5 which coincidentally is what James thought was the best move in the post mortem! John played 14.Bf4 which also looks rather good, but that appearance is artificial and I was able to give a piece back to survive with 14..Nxd5 15.Qxd5+ Ke7 16.Bg5+ Nf6 17.Qxc5+ Qd6 when black is still a bit shaky but is not getting mated, and black is still a piece up for 2 pawns.

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