Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Olympiad Round 1 - Singapore blanks South Korea 4 zip, Malaysia stuns the Dutch to take 1.5 points off them- by Junior Tay.

A nice way to start an event but given the huge difference in rating, this was an expected result.

3 of the 4 games follow a similar pattern. The Koreans generally held their own in quiet, positional play. But once Wei Ming, Daniel and Ravindran stepped up the gas and played tactically, the Koreans got tentative and lost the plot. Li Ruofan gave a businesslike performance in whittling off pieces weaken her opponent's IQP, though she missed a nice tactic to nab a piece early. No matter, 4-0 is a good result and in Round 2, we will face South Africa.

On the other hand, our neighbours Malaysia performed incredibily well to lop 1.5 points off the strong Netherlands team. Lim Zhuo Ren played a speculative Knight for 2 pawns sacrifice which thoroughly confused 2630 rated GM Stellwagen and soon the 2 pawns compensation became 4!. Stellwagen steered the game into a draw after Zhuo Ren kept improving his position with confident play.

But what's more stunning is IM Mok Tze Meng's victory over GM Loek Van Wely (2691!). After outplaying the latter in the middlegame by clamping down on the weak d6 pawn, Mok proceeded to open the h file and kept pressurising the d and h file. In trying to retain winning chances, Van Wely opened the a file to invade down only for his Rook to become a target for Mok to bring his Queen over the b file after Qb1 and b2-b4! After some nervy time trouble moves including missing a mate in 2, Mok steered the game into a won ending and nabbed a famous victory!

Even Yeoh Li Tian and Lim Yee Weng gave their illustrious opponents GMs Jan Smeets and Ivan Sokolov huge problems before succumbing. So, well done Malaysia. This result will undoubtedly be reminisced as one of the greatest performance by a Malaysian team in Olympiad history. Congrats!

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