Monday, 25 June 2012

More on Asian Nations Cup and SCN

As many should have known by now, SCN founder and editor O.G Urcan has formally shut down Singapore Chess News "SCN" with his reasons given here. As one of the main contributors, I am naturally somewhat disappointed with this decision but at the same time, understand his difficulties in juggling his book projects, career and family with SCN. No one has worked harder than him on this project and I genuinely believe that SCN had given the local chess community exclusive and detailed coverage on local chess events at a level which has never been seen in this country before.

We are proud to have attracted a loyal group of followers for the last 2 years and hoped that readers have been entertained and learnt more about chess and chess people here.

With that, I'll move on to the Asian Nations Cup where I'll show some of my other games in this event. Before the tournament, the main target for the Men's team is to finish 6th which I personally thought was reachable with a fair amount of luck. Given that there are at least 7 near full-GM teams which I can think of (China, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran) and that we were not able to field our strongest available line-up (GMs Zurab Azmaiparashvili and Wu Shaobin were not able to play for various reasons), I wasn't that optimistic about our chances. As it turned out, we were seeded 7th with Uzbekistan and the Philippines surprisingly opting not to send teams for this year's edition. With some luck, 6th position suddenly appeared to be a genuine prospect.

In round 1, we faced bottom seed Chinese Taipei and managed to get by without too many problems. My young opponent played the opening decently until he started defending passively:

Round 1
Singapore 4 - Chinese Taipei 0

We catapulted to board 2 where we had to face an insanely strong Indian team. Zhang Zhong played his first competitive game in nearly a year with the Black pieces against Krishnan Sasikiran and managed to hold him to a draw in impressive manner. Meanwhile, I was White against Harikrishna Pentala, whom, rated at 2693, was my highest ever rated opponent at that time (that would change by the end of round 8).

On Board 3, Daniel went down in flames against newly crowned Asian Continental Champion Parimarjan Negi. Before the game, we were discussing which line of Daniel's pet Cozio would Negi most likely try to squeeze him with and Daniel was spot on with his predictions. However, we also couldn't figure out a clear route to equality and he had to suffer with a slightly worse position through out the game. Even though Daniel defended well, he consumed too much time and blundered in a precarious position.

Peng Kong was doing well against G.N Gopal on the White side of the Neo-Grunfeld. Despite being out-rated heavily, he had a clearly drawn, opposite colored bishop and Queen ending until he blundered a critical pawn in time trouble. Heart-breaking stuff for Peng Kong who until then, was holding his own against the Indian GM.

Round 2
India 3 - Singapore 1

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