Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Asian Nations Cup Round 5 - Singapore vs Mongolia

Apologies for the long absence - I've been really busy with my work and also fell ill for the past couple of days. However, I trust that Junior's reports have been really entertaining and I'm certainly not complaining that he is helping me generate more blog views for free!

Back to the ANC. In round 5, we faced a youthful Mongolian team which is led by the very strong IM Bayarsaikhan Gundavaa. Gundavaa has been playing actively in the Asian circuit for some time and is known to be a very solid and positionally sound player with excellent opening preparation. Before the game, I asked Zhang Zhong what he intended to play against Gundavaa's Sicilian Najdorf of which he replied nothing. After having to defend for long periods against the Catalan in his first 2 games, he is now ready to dish out some Catalan torture of his own!

The Mongolian proved to be ready for the challenge and after some excellent opening play, managed to equalise comfortably. Zhang Zhong pressed a little before finally accepting a draw as a correct result.

On board 2, I faced the promising Munkhal Gombosuren, who, despite his relatively low rating of 2389, has already despatched the likes of GM Zhou Jianchao in round 1 and held GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son to a draw. I braced myself for a big fight and decided to return to an old favourite which I played when I was still a teenage. Things didn't quite go according to plan though....

A really gruelling draw, and I consider myself quite fortunate to escape with a draw after the awful miscalculation in the middlegame.

On board 3, Daniel went all in with a speculative piece sacrifice right from the opening. I sometimes marvelled at how Daniel was able to gamble without restrain over the board - given that he had predicted this position over the board, I would have at least tried to work out some of the ramifications in my preparation but this has never been Daniel's style. Daniel's intuition proved to be correct although the game ended tragically for the 18 year old, and Team Singapore.

A few days ago, I posted a little calculation exercise which FM Ly Hong Nguyen came tantalisingly close to solving. You can see the solution embedded in this very game.

A tragedy but what a fight this was! Daniel was naturally distraught after the game but he has nothing to be ashamed of as he had played without fear and took the fight to his opponent.

On board 4, Peng Kong blundered a piece in a moment of folly in an unclear position. The experienced veteran IM was still shaking off the rust from a long period of inactivity but we all believed that he would make a comeback and produce the chess we knew he could.

Round 5 Singapore 1 - Mongolia 3.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Training Match - Angry Birds and Young Punks on even terms after Rd 2.

The postponed game, IM Lim Yee Weng vs CM Jarred Neubronner commenced this morning. Following a 24 hour duty at camp and nursing a flu, Jarred walked into a bad position right out of the opening and was forced to sacrifice an exchange. Yee Weng overfinessed and returned the exchange unnecessarily before Jarred finally blew a piece and the game. This allowed the Angry Birds to take a 2-1 lead.

Round 2 had Tan Weiliang taking revenge on Jarred's behalf when Yee Weng misplayed the Chinese Dragon right out of the opening and was blown away.
Next, Terry tried to improve on Li Yang's English Reversed Dragon against Wei Ming but dithered too long on the Queenside while Wei Ming calmly built up an unstoppable Kingside attack.
With Team Angry Birds 3-2 down, Li Yang equalised for his team with his bread and butter endgame grind...

A little calculation exercise

Black to play. In this fascinating position, what happens after 1...Bxg7?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Jarred Neubronner and Tin Jingyao outclassed the field at the 1st SMU Random Chess tourney.

In the past few months, the SMU Mindsports Club has been organizing chess-related events such as a Transfer Chess tourney, a Simul Challenge and yesterday, they initiated a 7 round Random Chess event where the home rank pieces are randomised. One point to note was that the organizers made sure everyone got something to go back with as all players were awarded  certificates of participations and those who finished 1st to 3rd in the Secondary, JCs/CIs, Polytechic and Universities were awarded trophies and certs of merit. Those who finished with 4.5/7 were awarded certs of merit and the top 5 overall players bagged medals and certs of merit too.

 CM Jarred Neubronner and FM Tin Jingyao proved that they are equally adept at theory-deficient chess when they steamrolled the field to finish on 6.5/7. Jarred took the title and the Champion's trophy on tiebreak. Their nearest pursuer was Conan Wong who scored 5/7 followed by WFM Victoria Chan , Iskandar Bin Abdullah, Tin Ruiqi, Lee Qing Aun and Chan Weng Kin (all 4.5/7).

Here is the heavyweight encounter between Jarred and Jingyao. (We were unable to key in castling functions of Fisher Random positions from both ChessBase and the Chessviewer. Hence, Jarred only showed the game after both sides have castled)

Analysis by Jarred Neubronner and Junior Tay

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Training Match - Angry Birds vs Young Punks - Hard fought games in Rd 1 by Junior Tay

The 1st round ended evenly with one adjournment (IM Lim Yee Weng vs CM Jarred Neubronner postponed to next week). The games were very hard fought.

During the Thomson event, when IM Terry Toh beat Weiliang, the former's King walked from e8 to e7 and eventually to c6 during the middlegame. This time, Terry made 2 pledges...Firstly, no more crap openings- he will play something respectable with Bobby Fisher's opening - the Sicilian Najdorf...

The first problem Terry faced was when he tried to prepare the Polugaevsky Variation of the Bg5 Sicilian Najdorf the night before the game, he realised there was no way he could study 3000+ critical games in the line. So he ditched the idea. 

And secondly, he pledged that he would attempt to castle Queenside and then walk his King to the centre...What do you know..it really happened! During the game, the players (including Li Yang and Weiming) could not help laughing at the irony of his statements.

IM Hsu Li Yang vs IM Goh Wei Ming was a very intense positional fight with Li Yang narrowly losing on time.

So, the results of the 1st round of the Angry Birds vs Young Punks Training Match depends on the Yee Weng - Jarred encounter.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Daniel F - half point behind leaders in 5th Paleochora International Chess Tournament 2012, Kelvin Wee in Czechoslovakia - by Junior Tay

IM Daniel Fernandez moved to 4/5 at the above mentioned event after grinding out 2 consecutive endgame squeezes. Prior to that, from 2/2 against lowly rated opponents, Daniel was outclassed by top Greek GM Kotronias in an English Botvinnik System.

After that, Daniel demonstrated solid endgame technique to down his next two opponents.

 Daniel will now take on Bulgarian GM Petrov Marijan with Black.

Current Results: 5th Paleochora International Chess Tournament 2012

Meanwhile, in Pardubice, Czechoslovakia, Kelvin Wee completed a 4/7 result at the CZECH OPEN 2012 INFINITY OPEN, inclusive of the following draw against IM Andrejs Strebkovs.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Daniel Fernandez in Crete - Conclusion and ACO World Convention

Round 6 saw a bizarre drawn result after a fierce 14 moves of aggressive chess by both sides.
However, Daniel's unbeaten streak was finally snapped in Round 7 when he missed a critical move on the confounded 40th move....
It takes a certain je ne sais quoi to play the Hippo opening like Daniel did in Round 8...probably a dash of insociance and the willingness to gamble anything.

In the final round, Daniel lost to Indian IM Ashwin Jayaram to finish on 5.5/9 and he earned at least 13 more ELO points. Daniel will next compete in the 5th Paleochora International Chess Tournament 2012 
from 16-23 July where he is up against 22 GMs and another 12 more IMs.

News from the Middle EasT: Three Singaporeans had ventured to Dubai to compete in the Amateur Chess Organisation World Convention events.

Alvin Ong took part in the Group A Category (Below 2400) while Jimmy Ng and Tan Poh Heng participated in the Group B Category (2000-2199). Alvin finished on 4/9 (6th in a field of 10) while Jimmy and Poh Heng concluded with 5/9 (6th) and 4.5/9 (8th) respectively in their 16 strong group.

Final scores: Group A , Group B

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Scheveningen Match Challenge! - by Junior Tay

Our former National Champions (plus a two time Malaysian Champion) have agreed to a training match with Singapore's current hot players - Jarred was the local "Swiss Tournament King" last year (prior to National Service) before handing the mantle to Weiliang this year. Wei Ming needs no introduction - just a couple of GMs norms and a Asian Nations Bronze medal to boot.

So here goes...

Team Angry Birds (made up of Ayams) vs Team Young Punks Challenge

A) Team Angry Birds - IMs Hsu Li Yang (2427), IM Terry Toh (2419) , IM Lim Yee Weng (2287)
B) Team Young Punks - IM Goh Wei Ming (2437), Tan Weiliang (2214), CM Jarred Neubronner (2287)

Venue: De Royale Condo - Function room
Time Control: 60 minutes for entire game + 30 seconds increment.

21st July -1 pm IM Hsu Li Yang (W) vs IM Goh Wei Ming (B), Tan Weiliang (W) vs IM Terry Toh (B),  

28th July - 10 am IM Lim Yee Weng (W) vs CM Jarred Neubronner (B)
1 pm - CM Jarred Neubronner (W) vs IM Hsu Li Yang (B), IM Terry Toh vs IM Goh Wei Ming, Tan Weiliang vs IM Lim Yee Weng

29th July - 1pm - IM Hsu Li Yang (W) vs Tan Weiliang, IM Terry Toh(W) vs CM Jarred Nebronner(B), IM Goh Wei Ming (W) vs IM Lim Yee Weng

Stakes: Losing team for each round must buy dinner or high tea.


1. Can Terry's 'rubbish' openings confuse the tournament-hardened Wei Ming, Weiliang and Jarred or can they cut through the crap?

2. Can the Ayams' ancient theory survive against the theoretical weapons of our Young Punks?
3. Can Wei Ming continue his unbeaten streak in the training matches?
4. Will Terry drive his car in this time or will he just take a cab?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

IM Daniel Fernandez in Crete, GACC success for NUS and Eddy Seah in Perth - by Junior Tay

Some assorted news from overseas.

First off, IM Daniel Fernandez continued his fine run from the 1st third of the 4th Rethymno International Chess Tournament 2012 (where he scored 3/3) by remaining unbeaten after 6 rounds. However, as the opposition became stronger, he was pegged back by draws with GM Borovikov, GM Misa Pap and GM Kuljasevic Davorin. Watch the following game where Daniel and GM Misa Pap traded tactical blows in the endgame to end up level.

 Meanwhile, NUS A narrowly pipped International Islamic University of Malaysia A and Universiti Malaysia to win the 16th Grand Asian Chess Challenge. NTU A was 6th and NUS B 7th. The score table can be found in The Chess Connections. and the final individual tally in Chess Results.

News from Down under... Eddy Seah, a former Cairnhill Open winner who now resides in Perth, has emerged 3rd in the Metro Open. Scoretables and a few games from the event can be found on the Metropolitan Chess Club website. Eddy has previously won the 2009 Gufeld Cup.

Monday, 9 July 2012

IM Terry Toh's provocative play - by Junior Tay

IM Terry Toh was commenting about the following last round game (which earned him 2nd place in Thomson) where his King sauntered around the centre and then took a hike to c6. He was also interested to know if the engines that be can find a breakthrough plan for White. Well..here's the Houdini engine's opinion on the matter.

IM Daniel Fernandez off to a jolly good start in Crete - by Junior Tay

(I've been getting some feedback that the colour scheme for my chessflash viewer clashes with Wei Ming's blogskin. Yes, I have absolutely hopeless colour sense. I hope this colour scheme looks OK....)

The next Olympiad training stop for Daniel following his equal 2nd placing in Buxton is a GM-riddled event in Crete, Greece. Daniel rocketed off to an excellent 1st third of the event with a perfect 3/3 score. Here is his victory over Spanish GM Romero Holmes.

To follow the tournament standings, please look at Chess-results here.

To see the tournament website, please check this out. (It's all Greek to me (bad pun intended...)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Thomson Open - by Junior Tay

With 4 events stashed together on the same weekend, it is inevitable that the entries for this event would suffer. However, the quality of the players in the Thomson Gold Section is certainly impressive, with GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, GM Eldar Gasanov, IM Terry Toh, Nelson Mariano III, Jarred Neubronnner and Tan Weiliang as the top seeds. In Round 2, the upsets began as Cyrus Low held GM Gasanov to a draw. FM Lim Hoon Cheng opined that Cyrus could have played for more, having eschewed a Queen move which would have led to an extremely advantageous position. Nelson Mariano III, essaying a Benko Gambit against GM Sadorra, gambled on a Queen Sacrifice (for Rook and Knight) rather than to give up the initiative. It paid dividends as Sadorra missed 31...a4!
Meanwhile, IM Terry Toh demonstrated why Black should not give up his d pawn for White's c pawn in the Reti System.
With Sadorra and Gasanov bounced down to Bd 3 (Sadorra won) in the 3rd Round, the following games occured on Board 1 and 2.

So after 3 rds, Terry is the sole leader with 3/3. It will be a stern test for him as he has yet to meet any of the other big guns. Terry's attempt to win his 4th consecutive game was stymied when Jarred Neubronner drew against him.

Meanwhile, GM Sadorra accounted for Limono, Nelson outplayed Weiliang in the endgame and GM Gasanov took out Reinhard Sellmair. In the battle of the Indians, Srinivasaraghvan Raghuramann beat Anoop Jayaraj to set up a top board meeting with Terry.

An interesting fight between Sadorra and Jarred had the GM demonstrating his tactical prowess.
The tactical melee about to break out.

 Meanwhile, GM Gasanov could not make headway against an ultra solid Weiliang,
Round 6 saw the much awaited encounter between Terry and Sadorra. Terry attempted to bludgeon the opponent in the opening and was impressively repelled.
This virtually decided the tournament as in Round 7, Sadorra defeated Srinivasaraghvan after slowly but surely converting a pawn advantage with great accuracy. Terry 'smoked Weiliang' to finish 2nd and finally, Nelson Mariano and Jarred Neubronner drew a hard fought game to emerge 3rd and 4th respectively. All in all, an impressively organized event, with a decent prize fund (2nd only to Cairnhill Open, I think), excellent venue (air-conditioning too!) and free lunch(!). The newly wed Sadorra will thus travel back to the Phillipines to compete in the gruelling 17 rounds Olympiad qualifier with 300 dollars (for his bride?). Also, IM Terry Toh, who has not played a tourney for more than 4 years, showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

Final results here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

IM Daniel Fernandez clinches equal 2nd place in Buxton - by Junior Tay

IM Daniel Fernandez ventured southwards down to Derbyshire (England) to take part in the Buxtom Chess Congress (29 June to 1st July 2012). Seeded 3rd, he played above his rating to finish in equal 2nd with GM Mark Hebden and Alan Merry, scoring 4/5 to win 75 pounds and more importantly, about 9 ELO rating points (thanks to his Tournament Performance Rating of 2451).  GM Keith Arkell, who scraped a win from Daniel in Round 4, won the event with 4.5 points and collected the 300 pounds bounty.

Daniel started off with 3/3 though he considered himself lucky as he nearly lost to Alan Merry (Round 2 and fell asleep against FM Robert Shaw (Rd 3).

In Round 1, a nice positional squeeze leading to a sort of zugwang with the board full of pieces.

Round 2 saw Daniel drifting into a lifeless position where White was doing the pressing. However, his patience paid dividends.

FM Robert Shaw was on the brunt of Daniel's sacrificial attack after being outmanouvred in a Closed Ruy-like middlegame.

Next up is Daniel's heartbreaking loss to GM Keith Arkell, thus ending his chances of winning the event. Daniel remarked that he has started blitzing at the wrong moment in the drawn King and pawn ending.
In the final game, Daniel challenged his opponent into a tactical slugfest with chaotic material imbalances and he showed why this avenue is his forte.

Not a bad start in Daniel's pre-Olympiad preparations!

Full details of the tourney results can be found at the e2e4 Buxton Open website.