Last night saw the penultimate round of the Malitis Memorial at the MCC. The tournament has been split into 2 sections, and 8 player round robin for the 8 highest rated players in the field, and a swiss for the rest of the field.There is still a lot to play for in both sections, but one thing is for sure. IM Mirko Rujevic has won the round robin with one game to spare. Mirko has been in great form in this tournament, hang tough from some not so good positions and given himself chances in all his games. He has an amazing 6/6 which is likely to take him back above 2200.
After Mirko, David Cannon has continued his excellent form drawing last night with Simon Schmidt to sit on 4.5/6 and clear second place. David is a point clear of myself in third place, so even if results go against him, he will finish equal second at the worst, which will be a fantastic result. My 3.5/6 is back above half points, but is still only about par, or a little worse. I have had an issue with over extending my positions which I'm trying hard to work on, and last night I played a nice game to win with black against Omar Khaled Bashar. So along with most of the field, I'm fighting for third place, which doesn't sound too bad, but it is only an 8 player event!
The swiss is more competitive. Veteran Mehmedalija Dizdarevic is the clear leader on 5.5/6. He is half a point ahead of David Lacey but they have already played. So teh final round will see Mehmedalija play Eamonn O' Molloy while David plays Rad Chmiel, both tough games. Eamonn sits on 4.5 in clear third, while Rad is part of a group of players on 4/6. Whoever ends up winning this tournament will have deserved it as the field is quite evenly matched at the top end.
Next Monday is the last round, and the following Monday the MCC already start their next event, the MCC Open.This is a 9-round swiss which already has a field of over 30 players entered, so it looks like being a good tournament which means the Monday nights of 2015 have proved a great success for the MCC.
This was a position from my game last night. I was black against Omar Khaled Bashar, and I'd managed to create an immense passed pawn on b2. The next part of the game was a fight for this pawn, and finding a way for each side to activate their dormant king side minor pieces.
29.Rb1 Bb4 30.Na4
34..b5 making way for the knight 35.axb5 Nb6! There is no need to take the pawn back now, improving pieces is the most important thing at the moment. While this line of play might seem sharp, it is wholly positional and I was very happy with it. My exchange sacrifice was to secure a pair of advanced passed pawns, and then I moved queen and knight to their optimum squares. All that is needed now is a breakthrough, which my opponent allowed after 36.Be1 Qxb5