Monday, September 4, 2017

MCC Open Round 2

I often ask the kids that I coach what they think is the most important tournament. I inevitably get answers like the World Championship, or the Olympiad, or even the latest super-GM event. I tell them that the most important tournament is the one you are in. So while it is natural to get excited and follow something like the World Cup of chess with Magnus Carlsen and all the rest of the world's elite, that still shouldn't mean as much to each player as the tournament they are playing in. I'll admit that I get more of a buzz being in a chess club watching live chess, than viewing it on my laptop as it is broadcast from across the globe.

And with that intro, we enter the second round of the MCC Open. There have been a few late entries and the field now sits in the mid 40's for size. The tournament is wide open after top seed, Thai Ly lost last week. Today should see a settling of the field. Top board is Dizdarevic-Papadinis, but Jim Papadinis hadn't showed with 10 minutes left on his clock.

8.15 Update

An hour down....yes, we started on time tonight. The first winner is Mehmedalija Dizdarevic who moves on to 2/2 after Jim Papadinis didn't show. There are some exciting games happening,though. Tom Kalisch has tried the King's Gambit against Sally Yu who has taken. A bizarre position sits on the board at the moment. David Lacey is going for a big king side attack as black in a Dutch against Richard Voon. Thai Ly also has a promising king side attack against Sophie Chang, who has had a remarkably tough start to this event after playing so well against Tom Kalisch last week, but losing in the end. I'll go get a position or 2...

David Lacey as black just played ..Nxf4. Richard Voon replied Ne4 almost immediately.

This is the top game in progress, Kalisch-Yu which arose from some weird Bishop's Gambit.

9.00 Update

There are some crazy time differences on some boards. Here are some examples of time left:

Kalisch 53 Yu 39
Gusain 62 Fry 37
Voon 76 Lacey 24
Harris 62 Li 34 (and Oliver Li has gone walkabout)
Culbert 70 Snow 28
Ragavendran 27 Ashlock 67.

I don't know why players are taking so much time, but they will need to look at their confidence and decision making skills.

Ben Frayle finds himself a rook up, but somewhat tied up by an advanced passed pawn and an excellently placed king by Kerry Hopkins.

An interesting endgame. Colin Savage has an extra pawn, but will the opposite coloured bishops help Kevin Liu?

Club President Elizabeth Warren is putting up a very good fight against Roger Beattie. Elizabeth is just a pawn down, though the connected passed queen side pawns will probably give Roger the win.

Meanwhile, the giant killer from the last round, Alex Jones is playing another solid game against Sushant Manuja who had an excellent performance in the previous tournament, the Malitis Memorial.

9.45 Update

The Ben Frayle-Kerry Hopkins game is reducing to a pawn endgame. Who fancies some calculation training?

I guess Black must play ..Kc2 when white should move his rook forcing black to promote, but who is quickest after d1=Q Rxd1 Kxd1? Actually, the game continued 47..Kc2 48.Ke2 and black has won the a-pawn and should win the game! What a turn around from being a rook down!

Kalisch-Yu is still in this complicated position with clock times 29-22. I don't know if I prefer white's bishops or the better black structure. I think a knight swing from c6-e7-g6 could make white concerned about those offside king side pieces. But it is white to play...

Manuja-Jones, and I think black is ok!

10.00 Update

It is time for me to go home. My predictions? Carlsen will progress to the second round....

Kalisch-Yu too close to call. I'm beginning to like white
Harris-Li Unclear with Anthony bishop and pawn for a rook, and Oliver down to 9 minutes left
Gusain-Fry Looks like Daniel has this one dead to rights
Anton-Watson Sarah looks to be in control
Manuja-Jones I'm going with another giant killing here, black is ok
Hooi-Nordruft Black is material up and should win

Finally, the Frayle-Hopkins game ended in a draw! Black did win white's a-pawn, but instead of then swinging his king to the king side to pick off white's pawns, he got himself stalemated trying to promote his own a-pawn! Moral of the story: Work on your endgames!

I would verymuch like to see the full games of Kalisch-Yu, Harris-Li and Anton-Watson as they all were very interesting. I'll see about getting them off the players :)


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