Monday, August 28, 2017

MCC Open

I am sitting in the MCC as the roll call of the MCC Open tournament is happening. Unfortunately I can't play because I'll be in England for 3 or 4 weeks of the competition, but while I can, I will blog about the event. A field of 41 players have entered so far with Thai Ly the top seed. I t is a very open field and I'm sure there are quite a few players who feel they have a chance of doing well.

L-R Thai Ly, Simon Dale (Chief Arbiter), Elizabeth Warren (MCC President)

A well attended playing venue for the current Monday night event, the MCC Open

8.00 Update

The tournament started fashionably late at about 7.30 so we've had about half an hour of play and there are already some interesting positions on the board.

Any ideas what the result of this one will be? This is from James Watson-Ben Frayle, and it the type of position I'd hate to be in for either side! Meanwhile, we have Tom Kalisch having to defend against the Morra Gambit of young Sophie Chang. Board 1 sees Thai Ly having to play against Alex Jones, so it is a very competitive first round already, and I'd be surprised if all the games went the way of rating tonight. Perhaps the most interesting pairing is the junior battle between Gavyn Sanusi Goh and Daniel Gusain, both vastly improving players.

8.30 Update

Still no winner yet which is good for a first round. Time to catch up on some returning players. It is good to see MCC stalwarts Felix Wyss and John Beckman returning after periods of absence. Scott Stewart is also playing again, and walking around shaking his head, murmuring "Rusty....rusty". Well Scott, the good news is that the rust wears off pretty quickly, and his opponent, John Beckman, hasn't played much in the last 6 months either!

Perhaps the most pleasing returner is Sally Yu who finds the Monday night at MCC the most convenient for her. Hopefully, she will make a full return and fight for the women's Olympiad spot that she previously held. Sally is the second seed here at the MCC Open.

John Beckman returns to the MCC after 6 months off

Sally Yu makes a welcome return to the game
On the boards, the biggest upset is Tom Kalisch who appears to be an exchange down to Sophie Chang! Sally Yu is showing signs of rustiness. She is half an hour down on the clock. Thai Ly is black against an IQP type position which looks promising for white to me, though I've recently been looking at dynamics in chess so I guess it would appeal! But the big news is a piece sacrifice by Jim Papadinis (usually a safe stodger!) against young Jacob Day. Is it good enough?

White to play. Papadinis-Day

9.00 Update

The MCC is trying to secure its FIDE rated future with new arbiters. Congratulations to Giles Lean and Hans Gao for becoming National Arbiters so that FIDE rated chess will be able to continue at the MCC. This is something I'd like to do as well, but unfortunately the last course clashed with the Victorian Championship which I was playing in.

Newly minted arbiter, Hans Gao who is assistant for the MCC Open
There still isn't a winner, but a few are close. Sarah Anton is a piece ahead of young Emma Chang. Jim Papadinis is now an exchange up against Jacob Day, while James Watson is a piece up against Ben Frayle but with his king still in the centre. One of the returners, Felix Wyss, has a tough challenge against an in-form David Lacey. David played excellently in the recently finished Malitis Memorial finishing equal first with me, but he was really the pyrrhic victor of the event and should be carrying some confidence into this tournament.

No endgames yet :(

9.30 Update

Thai Ly has sunk into deep thought against Alex Jones. Thai took a piece, but his queen has become a little open and his position is looking difficult.

Thai Ly as black taking a long time over this move.

I take back that Jim Papdinis is an exchange up, he is a rook and pawn for 2 pieces. Oliver Li is an amazing talent. I am thankful that I have avoided him in the draw throughout the year, especially after he drew with FM Greg Canfell in the MCC Championship back in February. Oliver is a piece up and looking uninterested like a GM rather than a 10 year old!

We have the first winner of the night. James Watson won a crazy game against Ben Frayle. The diagram position from earlier is well worth looking at, it has loads of possibilities.

10.00 Update

Tonight, this is the last update, as I feel crap and need to sleep! Tom Kalisch now has 2 pawns for the exchange against Sophie Chang and the game is in the balance. A big upset is on the cards though as Richard Snow has a rook and 3 pawns against Richard Voon's knight and 5 pawns. I think the rook is in very good shape, but we'll see how both players finish this off.

Can Richard Snow as white cause an upset?
 The slowest players in the hall? Sally Yu is down to 17 minutes, while Gavyn Sanusi Goh has only 13 minutes left. There opponent's are about an hour left on the clock!

No upsets yet, but I have my hopes :)

Next week I'll be here to the end....unless I'm still sick! Hopefully a few more players enter the event. It would be good to get the numbers up toward 50.

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