For Singaporeans and Malaysians, the ideal qualifiers to play in are the 6th one (Friday 5th October, 11pm (Singapore Time) and the 8th and final one (Saturday 20th October, 10pm (Singapore time). The other qualifiers are held at the unearthly time of 2am onwards.
This morning, I played in the 3rd qualifier and managed to secure a place in the Candidates Final after a 6 way tie for 1st place with 7.5/9 points - (finishing 4th on tiebreak). Although there were 8 IMs and another 8 FMs in the field, I only met 2 of them as the 252 strong field meant the chances of playing them were relatively slim. Here are the games that helped me secure qualification.
This game illustrates why the Benko Gambit is very popular in online blitz play. If not theoretically prepared, for the price of a pawn, White has a very tough defensive job while Black gets free play and plenty of automatic moves. However, my Lithuanian opponent did muster up after the game and qualifed for the Candidates Finals too.
My penultimate round opponent had tied for 1st (Bronze medal after tiebreak) in the 2010 Asian Junior Championships. The way he wriggled out of his boxed in position is pretty impressive and instructive as he cleverly returned the gambitted pawn (and more) to free up his restricted pieces. Fortunately, both of us needed only a draw to secure qualification so we called truce.
In 2004, your blogmaster IM Goh Wei Ming cleared the 13 round online qualifiers in the Dia De Internet Chess Festival to reach the Quarter Finals where he was finally eliminated 2.5-1.5 by Russian IM Eraschenkov. The details can be found here.
Finally, I leave you with the exploits of FM Timothy Chan at the 2008 World Mindsports Games Chess Teams who besides beating GM Li Chao twice, trounced two IMs with yes, another cheap gambit...