Monday, 24 March 2014

Ministry of Health topples Ministry of Education to win the Public Service Star Games Chess Teams by Junior Tay

This year, the organizers introduced a TN - scheduling the event on a Sunday (23rd March 2014) instead of a Saturday. This enabled the doctors to get a full team line-up. I mean, when you can rest former National Champion NM Derrick Heng and Leong Khai Pang during a match, the team certainly looks good. Usually, some of their players had to skip rounds or the whole event altogether but this year, they came in full force.

IM Hsu Li Yang, helming top board, did not have it easy though. In round 1, NM Luke Leong from Ministry of Home Affairs upset the apple-cart by beating Li Yang from the Black side of a Maroczy Bind. The game can be found in Olimpiu Urcan's super fast update.

The rest of his team members cruised to wins, giving his team a 3-1 headstart. The same could not be said about defending champions MOE. The absence of MINDEF's top board player, Victor Huang (off to USA to do a masters degree) was more than nullified by the introduction of Tan Chor Chuan, who represented Singapore in the Elista Olympiad. He made an immediate impact with his typical hyper-aggressive chess by pummelling CM Quek Suan Shiau in the following encounter.
A game that I liked
[Event "Public Service Teams 2014"] [Site "Civil Service Club"] [Date "2014.??.??"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Quek Suan Shiau"] [Black "Tan Chor Chuan"] [Result "0-1"] [PlyCount "74"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. g3 {To avoid Chor Chuan's hack lines in the Kalashnikov...} Nf6 2. Bg2 e5 3. d3 Bc5 4. e3 d5 5. Nf3 Qe7 6. a3 O-O 7. b4 Bb6 8. h3 a5 $1 {Hitting White from the word 'go'.} 9. b5 a4 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. O-O Re8 12. Qe2 ({During the post mortem,} 12. d4 {with the idea of} e4 13. Ne5 {seemed strong but after} Qd6 $1 14. c4 Nxe5 $1 15. dxe5 Rxe5 16. Bxe5 Qxe5 17. Ra2 {was reeled off by Houdini with strong compensation for Black.}) 12... c6 13. d4 e4 14. Nfd2 c5 $5 {No rest for the wicked! Chor Chuan just keeps swinging that club at any and every opportunity.} 15. c4 $1 cxd4 16. exd4 $6 {Suan will rue the moment he allowed the Bb6 to live...} (16. Bxd4 Bxd4 17. exd4 e3 18. fxe3 Qxe3+ 19. Qxe3 Rxe3 20. Rf3 $11) 16... e3 $1 {Wrecking White's pawns with the intention of plucking them off later.} 17. Qxe3 Qxe3 18. fxe3 Rxe3 {The position is fiendishly difficult to defend, especially in rapid chess.} 19. Kf2 $2 (19. g4 $1 Rd3 20. Ra2 $1 {Holds for White but how do you find this sort of move in rapid? No way! }) 19... Rd3 20. c5 Ba5 $1 (20... Nxc5 21. dxc5 Bxc5+ 22. Ke1 Rxg3 23. Rf2 Bxh3 24. Bxh3 Bxf2+ 25. Kxf2 Rxh3 {is another way to pilfer a mass of pawns but there's no need for complications.}) 21. Ke2 ({After} 21. Rd1 {Chor Chuan demonstrated} Ne4+ 22. Bxe4 (22. Nxe4 Rxd1 23. Nd6 Nf6 $17) 22... dxe4 23. Ke2 Nf6 {and White is still in the doghouse.}) 21... Rxg3 {The rest is just Chor Chuan and his lawnmower doing the deed.} 22. Kf2 Rg5 23. Re1 Nf8 24. Nc3 Bxc3 25. Bxc3 Ng6 26. Re3 Bd7 27. Rae1 Bxb5 28. Kg1 $4 Nf4 29. Kh1 Nxg2 30. Re5 Nxe1 31. Rxg5 Re8 32. Rg3 Re2 33. Kg1 h5 34. Rg5 Ne4 35. Nxe4 Nf3+ 36. Kf1 Rxe4+ $6 {Chor Chuan indicated that he should have delivered mate with R-anysquare on the 2nd rank except g2 and f2!} 37. Kf2 Nxg5 0-1

Following Francis Teo's win on board 4 against MOE's Lim Chye Lye from the White side of a Benko gambit, MINDEF held MOE 2-2 and delivered a mortal blow to the latter's chances.

However, by round 3, MOE had caught up with MOH on game points (9.5/12) and hence, met on top board. 

This time round, MOH bested MOE 3-1, with Li Yang beating Suan Shiau on board 1 and Dr J Nithiananthan overcoming his nemesis NM Olimpiu Urcan while Alvin Ong and Derrick Heng secured draws against Junior Tay and Pok Wern Jian respectively. This virtually put paid to MOE's hopes and consigned them to the fight for 2nd place.

In the final round, MOH just had to avoid defeat against MINDEF and with a 2.5-1.5 effort, they got the job done. IM Hsu, however, was put to the test by Chor Chuan, by having to defend a pawn down though he could have even turned the tables on move 43 with a surprising pin.
A game that I liked
[Event "Public Service Teams 2014"] [Site "Civil Service Club"] [Date "2014.??.??"] [Round "5.1"] [White "Tan Chor Chuan"] [Black "IM Hsu Li Yang"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. h3 $6 {This inaccuracy allowed Li Yang to equalise.} c6 8. a4 Nxe4 $1 {Black gets to trade minors and equalize in the centre.} 9. Nxe4 (9. Bxf7+ Rxf7 10. Nxe4 exd4 11. Nfg5 Bxg5 12. Bxg5 Qf8 13. Qxd4 d5 {with equality - The Philidor Files - GM Christian Bauer (Everyman 2006)}) 9... d5 10. Nxe5 (10. Bb3 dxe4 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. dxe5 {with a level position in Murshed,N (2510)-Mokry,K (2525) Brno 1991 (1/2, 47)} Bf5) 10... Nxe5 11. dxe5 dxe4 (11... dxc4 12. Nd6 Be6 13. Nxb7 Qb8 $1 14. Nd6 Rd8 {is equal, even after} 15. Bf4 $6 f6 $1 16. Qe2 fxe5 17. Nxc4 Rd4 18. Bxe5 Bxc4 19. Qe3 Rd6 $1) 12. Bf4 Bf5 13. Qe2 Qb6 14. c3 a5 15. Rad1 Rad8 16. b3 h6 17. Qh5 {Here, Chor Chuan starts his caveman approach and Li Yang typically retreats his piece in defence.} Bh7 $2 ({Probably it is impossible for anyone except those animals like Stockfish, Komodo or that magician Houdini to find} 17... Be6 $1 18. Bxh6 $1 c5 $1 {when Black is holding out.}) 18. Rxd8 $6 {White keeps the advantage though, with this safe option.} ({White can combine to win a pawn or get a piece on the seventh rank based on the weakness of the h6 and f7 pawn.} 18. Qg4 $1 Kh8 (18... Qc5 19. Qg3 Kh8 20. Rxd8 Bxd8 (20... Rxd8 21. Bxf7) 21. e6 $1) 19. Rxd8 Qxd8 20. Rd1 Qe8 21. Qd7 $1 {and White dominates totally.}) 18... Qxd8 19. Rd1 Qc8 20. Be3 $1 Bf5 21. Bb6 Be6 22. Qe2 Bxc4 23. Qxc4 Qf5 24. Re1 Qxe5 25. Rxe4 Qg5 26. f4 Qf6 27. Bxa5 {White has collected a pawn but now Li Yang digs in and counterattacks from afar...} Bd8 $1 28. Bb4 Bb6+ 29. Kh2 Rc8 30. Be7 Qf5 31. Bh4 Bc7 {The initiative swings to Black as f4 becomes a target.} 32. Bg3 Rd8 33. b4 Kh7 34. Re2 Rd5 35. b5 $2 Qf6 $2 {Too passive. Chor Chuan gets his mojo back.} (35... Rc5 $1 {wins back the pawn.} 36. Qd4 cxb5 37. axb5 Rxb5) 36. bxc6 (36. Qe4+ Kg8 37. Qe7 $1 {and Black is in serious trouble.}) 36... bxc6 37. Qe4+ Rf5 38. c4 g6 {Black is out of the woods and proceeded to take over the initiative.} 39. Rf2 h5 40. Rf3 h4 41. Bf2 Bxf4+ 42. Kg1 $2 (42. Kh1 $1 {and now} Qa1+ 43. Bg1 $1) 42... Qa1+ 43. Be1 Re5 $2 (43... Bg3 $3 {A very difficult move to find as White get to capture f5 with tempo.} 44. Rxf5 gxf5 45. Qxf5+ Kh6 $3 {and incredibly, White has no check and has to lose a piece. Li Yang verified that he missed Kh6 in his calculations.}) 44. Qxf4 {and now the game petered to a draw.} Rxe1+ 45. Rf1 Rxf1+ 46. Qxf1 Qxa4 47. Qxf7+ 1/2-1/2

Congrats to MOH for a comprehensive victory, winning all of their matches to earn the title.

Final Results:

1st: Ministry of Health
2nd: Ministry of Education 1
3rd: Ministry of Defence 
4th: Ministry of Education 2

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