Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Boxing Day Blitz Match - Raffles JC Alumni vs the Rest of the World! by Junior Tay

A good friend and sparring partner of the gang, IM Lim Yee Weng notified us that he would be making a trip to Singapore over the Christmas week so I rustled up the usual suspects to see if they were available for some plastic-piece-pushing. Amazingly, 5 of them indicated their availability on Boxing Day so we decided on a double round Scheveningen blitz match.

The time control of 4 minutes + 2 seconds increment was picked instead of the traditional 5 minutes flat so that chess, instead of carrom, can be played when time runs low.

Representing Raffles JC Alumni - IM Hsu Li Yang, FM Ong Chong Ghee and FM Jarred Neubronner.
FM Ong Chong Ghee, hacker par excellence.
The Rest of the World Team had Malaysian IM Lim Yee Weng, Russian FM Andrey Terekhov and CM Olimpiu Urcan.

  FM Andrey Terekhov from Russia plays with a fluid, classical style

The match started on the wrong foot for the Raffles guys when they got walloped 3-0 by the ROW.
Rd 1 - Raffles got walloped 3-0!
The Raffles team fought back in the next 5 rounds but just could not overcome the deficit and the Rest of the World Team emerged 10.5-7.5 victors. Yee Weng was the top scorer for the team and overall with a brilliant 5/6 score with CM Urcan accounting for 3.5 points and FM Terekhov scoring the remaining 2 for a comfortable 3 point margin. They each won a signed copy of  Everyman's Chess Development: Sicilian Najdorf 6. Bg5.

The top scorer IM Lim Yee Weng

CM Olimpiu Urcan played the game of the match against a hapless Jarred
The top Rafflesian scorer was Li Yang with 3.5 points. Thus Yee Weng and Li Yang each won a copy of  Everyman's  Ivanchuk Move by Move.
 IM Hsu Li Yang - top scorer for the Raffles team

Both Chong Ghee and Jarred scored 2 points.
FM Jarred Neubronner redeemed himself in the final 2 rounds

Here are some games from the event.

Li Yang started off on a wrong foot, outplaying himself in the ending. Clearly, the one game warmup he had after arriving from work wasn't sufficient.

[Event "Boxing Day Master Match"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "1.1"] [White "FM Terekhov, Andrey"] [Black "IM Hsu, Li Yang"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D00"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/5k1p/8/2ppp3/7P/1P2R1PK/P7/6r1 b - - 0 42"] [PlyCount "18"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [EventType "blitz"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "SIN"] [SourceDate "2014.12.28"] [WhiteTeam "ROW"] [BlackTeam "Raffles Alumni"] 42... e4 43. g4 Ke6 44. g5 Ke5 45. Kh2 Rg4 46. Rg3 Rxg3 47. Kxg3 Kf5 $2 { Terekhov, despite the obvious tension etched on his face, conducts the endgame accurately.} (47... c4 $1 {creates two runners and White cannot stop both.} 48. bxc4 dxc4 49. Kf2 Kf4 50. Ke2 c3 51. h5 e3 $1 52. g6 c2 53. gxh7 c1=Q 54. h8=Q Qd2+ 55. Kf1 Qf2#) 48. a4 d4 49. a5 e3 $4 {The wrong pawn!} (49... d3 50. Kf2 Kf4 51. a6 e3+ 52. Ke1 Kf3 53. a7 d2+ 54. Kd1 Kf2 55. a8=Q e2+ 56. Kxd2 e1=Q+ { with a draw by perpetual check.}) 50. Kf3 Ke5 51. a6 {And Terekhov with a double fist victory gesture, claims the game and sets in motion a 3-0 whitewash of the Raffles team.} 1-0
In the battle of the IMs, honours were even as they split wins. Let's have a look at a typical 'Hus your daddy' positional win by the doctor.
[Event "Boxing Day Master Match"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "2.1"] [White "IM Lim, Yee-Weng"] [Black "IM Hsu, Li Yang"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D02"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [EventType "blitz"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "SIN"] [SourceDate "2014.12.28"] [WhiteTeam "ROW"] [BlackTeam "Raffles Alumni"] 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. Nbd2 {White prefers to postpone the tussle until the middlegame. Li Yang has no issue with that and we see all bishops fianchettoed.} b6 7. c4 Bb7 8. b3 c5 9. Bb2 dxc4 10. Nxc4 Na6 $146 11. Rc1 Rc8 12. Qd2 $5 cxd4 ({Yee Weng's idea is to vacate the d-file for the king rook after} 12... Ne4 13. Qe3) 13. Qxd4 Qxd4 14. Bxd4 {These 'boring' positions are the type that Li Yang excels in. Olimpiu Urcan describes the doctor's style best - 'Smooth with all calm, clear moves and suddenly, the carpet below your feet breaks into pieces'. This is exactly what happens in the game.} Be4 15. Nfe5 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Rfd8 17. e3 $6 {It is hard to see that this weakening of the d3-square from this calm position will be the result of White's downfall.} Ne4 $1 $15 {With this, Black claims a slight positional edge.} 18. Na3 $6 (18. f3 Nec5 $15) 18... Nac5 {Establishing control over the d3-square, especially when the Ne5 not that secure.} (18... Nb4 $1 {is even stronger as it will be very tough to guard the a2-pawn and still prevent Black from infiltrating down the central files.}) 19. b4 $6 { This overanxious move will cost White the game as Li Yang's knight foray plan takes fruit.} (19. Rfd1 {is mandatory.}) 19... Bxe5 $1 20. Bxe5 ({White also goes a pawn down after} 20. bxc5 Bxd4 21. exd4 bxc5 22. dxc5 Rxc5 23. Rxc5 Nxc5 $17) 20... Nd3 {Black gains time with this fork and the b-pawn is untenable.} 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Bd4 Nxb4 23. Nb5 a6 24. Na7 (24. Rb1 Nd3 25. Na3 b5 {is also gloomy for White.}) 24... Rc2 25. Bxb6 Rxa2 26. Nc8 Nd5 27. Bd4 e5 $1 {Since the e-pawn is inedible due to ...Nxe3+, Black gains tempi to activate his king too.} 28. Ba7 (28. Bxe5 Nxe3+) 28... f5 29. h4 Kf7 30. Rb1 {There is no use trying to hold on to the f2-pawn since Black will just march the a-pawn home.} Ke6 31. Nb6 {and Black finishes with a flourish.} Rxf2+ 32. Kg1 Nxe3 33. Nc8 Rg2+ 34. Kh1 Nxg3# 0-1
The problem with team matches is that one must take into account the match situation. FM Ong Chong Ghee gambled on in a drawn position to try capitalising on FM Terekhov's time trouble but the latter always had one second too many...
[Event "Boxing Day Master Match"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "2.1"] [White "FM Terekhov, Andrey"] [Black "FM Ong, Chong Ghee"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D11"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/p1b2pp1/8/2p4p/4p1qP/1PQ1P1P1/PB3P2/6K1 w - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [EventType "blitz"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "SIN"] [SourceDate "2014.12.28"] [WhiteTeam "ROW"] [BlackTeam "Raffles Alumni"] 30. Qxc5 {Here, Black plays the logical piece sacrifice} Bxg3 31. fxg3 Qd1+ 32. Kg2 Qe2+ 33. Kg1 {and Terekhov offered the draw as Ghee cannot do better than perpetual check. However, in view of the match situation (Raffles was 0-3 already after Round 1), Ghee had to try on and even though Andrey was living on borrowed time, having his clock go precariously down to 2 or 1 second before he gets the extra 2 secods, he successfully navigated the incremental time control to win after} Qd1+ 34. Kg2 Qf3+ 35. Kg1 Qxg3+ 36. Kf1 Qf3+ 37. Ke1 Qh1+ 38. Kd2 Qg2+ 39. Kc3 Qg4 40. Qg5 Qc8+ 41. Kd2 Qd7+ 42. Kc1 Qc6+ 43. Kb1 f6 44. Qxh5 Qd7 45. Qe2 a5 46. Qc4+ Kh8 47. Qxe4 Qd1+ 48. Bc1 Qd7 49. h5 Qc7 50. Qg6 1-0
However, Ghee equalised in their personal match with this topsy turvy effort.
[Event "Boxing Day Master Match"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "2.2"] [White "FM Ong, Chong Ghee"] [Black "FM Terekhov, Andrey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A08"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [EventType "blitz"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "SIN"] [SourceDate "2014.12.28"] [WhiteTeam "Raffles Alumni"] [BlackTeam "ROW"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 {Back in his heyday, the King's Indian Attack was a potent weapon in Ghee's hands, beating GM Reefat and IM Terry Toh with it (as well as drawing GM Nelson Mariano).} g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. O-O Nge7 7. c3 d5 8. Qe2 Qc7 9. Re1 h6 {Black does not commit the king to the kingside yet and plays a waiting game...for White to play e4-e5 so that he can counterattack it with ...g5! followed by ...Ng6 or ...g4.} 10. h4 {Nixing the aforementioned plan.} Bd7 $5 {This is quite an unusual placement for the bishop.} (10... O-O 11. e5 b5 12. Bf4 Kh7 13. Nbd2 {was played in Ivanov,A (2503)-Ajrapetian,G (2361)/Belgorod 2009. I like the White side, thanks to Fishcher's exquisite play in such positions (pawn wedge on e5 and then drumming up of an irresistable kingside assault just before Black's queenside play hits home).}) 11. Na3 a6 12. exd5 $5 Nxd5 ({White has a sneaky idea after } 12... exd5 13. Be3 b6 14. d4 $1 c4 15. Nxc4 $3 dxc4 16. d5 {with the idea of Bxb6, uncovering the e-file battery.}) 13. Nc4 O-O 14. a4 b5 15. Ne3 $6 (15. Nce5 {keeps a slight pull.}) 15... bxa4 $6 (15... b4 $11) 16. Nc4 {White has established a firm edge with solid central control. He is now poised to make use of his space advantage to try inducing more kingside weaknesses.} Rab8 17. h5 $5 {Typical Ghee. He does not miss an opportunity to start a bonfire.} g5 ({ Not} 17... gxh5 18. Nh4 {when the chronic kingside weaknesses will soon tell.}) 18. Nxg5 {Boom! This is going to be difficult to defend in blitz.} hxg5 19. Bxg5 f6 {Terekhov is going to defend from the 7th rank.} 20. Bd2 Rf7 21. h6 Bf8 $6 ({Maybe the bishop is better deployed with} 21... Bh8 22. Qh5 Ne5 23. Nxe5 fxe5) 22. Qh5 $1 $16 {Here comes the calvary.} Nce7 23. Be4 Be8 ({The problem with} 23... f5 {is} 24. Bxd5 Nxd5 25. Qg6+ {wins a rook after} Bg7 26. h7+ Kh8 (26... Kf8 27. Bh6 {is even worse for Black.}) 27. Qxf7) 24. Qh3 $6 (24. Qg4+ { justifies the whole attacking plan with} Kh8 25. Qxe6 Rd8 26. Rxa4 {and White not only has the initiative but has plucked enough pawns already.}) 24... f5 ({ Perhaps} 24... Nb6 25. Qxe6 Nxc4 26. Qxc4 Rxb2 {is better.}) 25. Bf3 (25. Bxd5 Nxd5 (25... exd5 $2 26. Bf4 $16) 26. Rxe6 $14) 25... Rh7 $4 {A time trouble error. Now White plucks the 6th rank pawns and is in charge.} (25... Rf6 {is necessary.}) 26. Rxe6 $18 Bf7 27. Rxa6 Qb7 28. R1xa4 Qd7 29. Rd6 $4 {Gifting a whole rook in the spirit of the Christmas season.} Qxa4 30. Qh4 Ng6 $4 {Black returns the favour.} (30... Kh8 {nullifies spells the end of all the tricks.} 31. Bg5 Ng8 {and White's attack is spent.}) 31. Rxg6+ $1 {Suddenly, White is winning again!} Bxg6 32. Bxd5+ Bf7 33. Qg5+ Kh8 34. Bxf7 $2 {Now it's touch and go with both sides in time trouble.} ({It's over after} 34. Qf6+ Kg8 35. Qg6+ Kh8 36. Bxf7) 34... Rxf7 35. Qg6 Rbb7 36. Bf4 $1 Qd1+ 37. Kg2 Rbe7 $4 38. Ne5 $1 $18 {White is on top again with this knight lunge!} Rh7 $1 {The only defence! Terekhov forces Ghee to find forced moves.} 39. Qf6+ ({It is too much to expect an accurate finish with seconds left by playing} 39. Bg5 $1 Qb3 40. Bf6+ Bg7 41. hxg7+ Rhxg7 42. Qh6+ Kg8 43. Ng6 Qd5+ 44. Kh2 Rxg6 45. Qxg6+ Kf8 46. Qh6+ Ke8 47. Bxe7 Kxe7 {and White will win the endgame.}) 39... Kg8 40. Qg6+ Kh8 $4 ({Last chance saloon...} 40... Bg7 $1 41. Nc6 Rf7 42. Qe6 Qxd3 43. Ne7+ Kf8 44. Ng6+ Kg8 45. Ne7+ $11) 41. Qxf5 Qe2 $4 42. Ng6+ ({Missing} 42. Qxf8#) 42... Kg8 43. Qxf8# 1-0
Olimpiu was in fine form, taking points off all his higher rated opponents and giving Jarred a 2-0 pasting. The following game is a great advertisement for the Trompowsky Vaganian Gambit.
[Event "Boxing Day - Raffles vs ROW blitz match"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "?"] [White "CM Olimpiu Urcan"] [Black "FM Jarred Neubronner"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A45"] [Annotator "Junior Tay"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [SourceDate "2014.12.26"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 c5 3. d5 Qb6 4. Nc3 {Inviting Jarred to pluck the Vaganian Gambit.} Qxb2 {The principled continuation. Otherwise, why play ...Qb6?} 5. Bd2 Qb6 6. e4 d6 7. f4 Nfd7 $5 {A rare move, with only 4 games in the Megabase database. Black wishes to restrain e4-e5 without getting this Nf6 kicked around.} 8. Rb1 {Olimpiu plays the recommended idea versus 7...e6 given in IM Richard Pert's Playing the Trompovsky (Quality Chess 2013).} Qd8 9. Nf3 g6 10. e5 $1 {White has to commit this central break before ...Bg7 or his initiative might fizzle out} Bg7 $6 (10... a6 $5 {Preventing Bb5/Nb5 tricks should be considered.}) 11. e6 $1 {In for a penny, in for a pound.} fxe6 12. Ng5 {There is a running joke among my chess pals in the 90s. Whenever one of us weakens the positions by creating outposts for the opponents, we would say...'That's a strong hole' (pun on 'stronghold' - get it?) and the rejoinder would be 'where even the holes are strong'. White exploits the light square weaknesses caused immediately.} Nf6 $1 {This is virtually forced.} ({Vaganian already showed 40 years ago that after} 12... Nf8 {, White has an enduring initiative} 13. Bb5+ Bd7 14. dxe6 Bxb5 15. Nxb5 Qc8 16. O-O a6 17. Bc3 $1 axb5 18. Bxg7 Rg8 { Vaganian,R (2540)-Jansa,V (2535)/Kragujevac 1974 and now} 19. f5 $3 {is decisive after} Rxg7 20. f6 $1 exf6 21. Rxf6 {and the devastating Qf3 cannot be fended off.}) 13. Bb5+ Kf8 14. dxe6 a6 15. Bd3 Nc6 16. O-O {White's compensation is evident. All his pieces are developed, f4-f5 is imminent and Black's pieces are still clogged up.} Qe8 {Trying to cover the g6 weakness after White's impending f4-f5.} 17. f5 Ne5 18. Bf4 $1 {Removing Black's most active piece.} h6 ({After} 18... Nxd3 19. Qxd3 gxf5 {and now} 20. Rbe1 $1 { keeps a firm grip on the position.} ({instead of} 20. Qxf5 Qg6 {when Black has survival chances,})) 19. Bxe5 ({Stronger is} 19. Nf7 $1 {with the idea of prising open the f-file with} Nxf7 20. exf7 {followed by fxg6.}) 19... hxg5 20. Bxf6 Bxf6 21. Nd5 Bd4+ $2 {Jarred is setting up a dardstardly trap...} ({ Black's only resource lie in the surprising} 21... Qa4 22. Nxf6 Qd4+ 23. Rf2 exf6 24. fxg6 Kg7 {though White still has a strong pull.}) 22. Kh1 Kg7 23. Qf3 {Too bad for Jarred, Olimpiu spotted the cheapo! Now the f-file opening ceremony proceeds with fanfare.} ({Jarred's con is} 23. fxg6 $4 Rxh2+ $3 {and the tables are overturned due to} 24. Kxh2 Qh8+ 25. Kg3 Qh4+ 26. Kf3 Bxe6 {and White is forced to part with the knight due to the threat of ...Bg4+.} 27. Ke2 Bxd5 {and Black has an overwhelming position.}) 23... Qf8 24. Rbe1 Ra7 25. c3 Be5 ({Also pointless is} 25... Bf6 26. Qg3 Qe8 27. fxg6 b5 28. Rxf6 exf6 29. e7 ) 26. Rxe5 $3 {A beauty. White crashes through like a ten-tonner truck.} dxe5 27. Qe4 Rh6 28. Qxe5+ Kg8 29. f6 b5 30. fxe7 Qe8 31. Nf6+ {A great example of a sustained non-stop attack following gambit play.} 1-0
Jarred had zero points after 4 games, something unthinkable for the NTU undergraduate who is a regular local tournament winner. He has also recently and won the Toa Payoh West rapid event (with the biggest prize money this year) with a perfect score. However, he barely managed to bamboozle Andrey twice from dubious positions. The following game showed how hard it is to put Jarred away even from the penalty spot.
[Event "Boxing Day Master Match"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "3.1"] [White "FM Terekhov, Andrey"] [Black "FM Neubronner, Jarred"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A70"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r1b1r1k1/1pqn1pbp/p2p1np1/3P4/P1p1PB2/2N2N1P/1PB2PP1/R2Q1RK1 w - - 0 14"] [PlyCount "40"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [EventType "blitz"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "SIN"] [SourceDate "2014.12.28"] [WhiteTeam "ROW"] [BlackTeam "Raffles Alumni"] 14. Re1 {This is still theory but Jarred's careless next move gives White the desired central break.} Nc5 $4 ({Theory recommends} 14... Rb8) ({or} 14... Nh5) 15. e5 $1 {After this blow, Black is almost lost but Jarred proves extremely difficult to put away.} dxe5 16. Bxe5 Qd8 17. Qd4 $1 Nb3 $2 18. Bxb3 cxb3 19. Ne4 $1 {A powerful move, forcing Black to relinquish the pride of the Benoni player, the dark-squared bishop.} Nxe4 20. Bxg7 Nd6 21. Bf6 Qa5 22. Bh8 $1 f6 23. Qxf6 Qc7 {How come Black is still alive? There is no concrete finishing shot here.} 24. Ng5 Bf5 25. Qd4 Rac8 26. Be5 Qd7 27. Qb4 {A regrouping to put the queen in front of the bishop on the long black diagonal.} Nc4 {Denying White's queen access to d4.} 28. Bc3 Bc2 29. d6 $5 {The idea is to deflect the knight away from c4.} (29. Rxe8+ $1 Qxe8 30. Qxb7 {and Black cannot prevent mate.}) 29... a5 $1 {Even though this loses with best play, Terekhov is already in time trouble so...} (29... Nxd6 $4 30. Qd4) (29... Qxd6 $4 30. Qxb7) 30. Qb5 $2 {After this, Black is out of the woods as the queens get traded off. } Qxb5 31. axb5 Nxd6 32. Rxe8+ Rxe8 33. Rxa5 h6 {The worst is over for Black who eventually eked out a win.} 0-1
Li Yang and Olimpiu had recently played 4 training matches with the former getting 3 wins against 1 loss. After losing the first in this mini-match, Olimpiu matched the IM in the following ending.
[Event "Boxing Day Master Match"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "3.2"] [White "IM Hsu, Li Yang"] [Black "CM Urcan, Olimpiu G"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A81"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/p5k1/1p1p4/4N3/2PpB2n/1P6/P4P2/5K2 b - - 0 37"] [PlyCount "28"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [EventType "blitz"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "SIN"] [SourceDate "2014.12.28"] [WhiteTeam "ROW"] [BlackTeam "Raffles Alumni"] {Another interesting ending. Here, both parties demonstrated accuracy.} 37... dxe5 38. Ke2 Kf6 39. b4 {Preparing c4-c5.} Nf5 40. Bxf5 Kxf5 41. f3 {Stopping the threat of ...e4 cold. Now the game is a draw unless one of them messes up big time.} (41. Kd3 Kf4 42. c5 bxc5 43. bxc5 Kf5 44. Kc4 Ke6 45. f4 exf4 46. Kxd4 f3 {is also another draw but Li Yang's way is clearer.}) 41... Kf4 42. c5 bxc5 43. bxc5 Kf5 44. Kd3 Ke6 45. Ke4 Kd7 46. f4 exf4 47. Kxd4 Kc6 48. Ke4 Kxc5 49. Kxf4 Kb4 50. Ke3 Kc3 51. Ke2 {There is no need for them to play out the whole sequence as mutual respect is shown.} (51. Ke2 a5 52. a4 Kc2 53. Ke3 Kb3 54. Kd4 Kxa4 55. Kc4 Ka3 56. Kc3 Ka2 57. Kc2 a4 58. Kc1 a3 59. Kc2 {and Black will get stalemated.}) 1/2-1/2
Yee Weng was the MVP of the match, forcing his opponents to think hard right at the beginning juncture of the game. For example, he played an early ...Nfd7 against Jarred's 150 Attack vs the Pirc, a ...Nf8-g6 sortie vs Li Yang's QGD Exchange and 3...Na5!? in response to Ghee's Rossolimo. "The idea is to make them think and not to be able to play automatic moves", he revealed after the match. Here's how he outplayed Ghee in the final round.
[Event "Boxing Day Master Match"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2014.12.26"] [Round "3.2"] [White "FM Ong, Chong Ghee"] [Black "IM Lim, Yee-Weng"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A00"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r2q1rk1/1b2ppb1/3p1n1p/1B4p1/p2PP3/N2Q2B1/5PPP/R4RK1 w - - 0 21"] [PlyCount "30"] [EventDate "2014.12.26"] [EventType "blitz"] [EventRounds "6"] [EventCountry "SIN"] [SourceDate "2014.12.28"] [WhiteTeam "Raffles Alumni"] [BlackTeam "ROW"] 21. Rfe1 {Black has emerged out of the opening with the upper hand due to his central pressure as well as the passed a-pawn. At the time being, it is blockaded so Yee Weng starts to press hard on the queenside.} Qa5 $1 22. Rab1 Ba6 $1 {Simple and logical, removing the obstacles to the a-pawn's advance one by one.} 23. h4 Bxb5 24. Nxb5 Rfb8 25. hxg5 hxg5 26. e5 Nh5 $5 {Setting a devious trap for Ghee.} 27. Bh2 $4 ({It will be too far-fetched to expect White in blitz time control to play} 27. exd6 $1 Nxg3 28. dxe7 $1 Nh5 29. Nd6 $1 Rxb1 30. Rxb1 Nf6 31. Qc4 {with a strong attack.}) 27... a3 $1 {Thanks to the Bh2 blocking the king's 'luft', Yee Weng's a-pawn cannot be stopped.} 28. Nxa3 Rxb1 29. Rxb1 Qxa3 $1 {Ouch! White's desperado rook deflection move cannot be played.} 30. Qf5 (30. Rb8+ {can be met by} Rxb8 31. Qxa3 Rb1+ {and White gets mated.}) 30... Qa2 31. exd6 exd6 32. Bxd6 Bxd4 33. Qxg5+ Ng7 34. Rf1 Qe2 35. Qd5 {and now the coupe de grace...} Bxf2+ $1 {Ghee shook his head and resigned.} 0-1
All games are available on CBV format at Olimpiu's website.

Watch Video of Round 1!

Monday, 22 December 2014

National Championships 2014

This is going to be a short post.

The following statement was posted on the SCF website:

"In view of the withdrawal of a player from the National Premier one day after the Technical Meeting, the EXCO decided to organise the National Championship by merging all the players in the categories – Premier, Candidates, Women & Challengers. There overall winner will be crowned National Champion provided he is a SC/SPR...."
The player in question is me. While I have no intention to begin any form of dispute with any party, I wish to highlight the following:
1) During the technical meeting, a decision was formed to include 3 players that did not qualify under the stipulations. This did not come as a surprise as the criteria is very high and Singapore does not have too many strong and active local players at present. Typically, these issues are thrashed out during the technical meeting when all the players are able to come to a compromise.
2) As there was no way I could have arrived on time (due to work schedule), I informed the in charge one day in advance, and even called him once I left my office to inform him my ETA. I arrived around 740pm only to realize that the meeting was over. 
3) The deadline to submit the registration was 13 Dec, before 6pm. No late entries are to be entertained. I did not receive any information prior to the technical meeting on 15 Dec.  
4) Last year, only 5 players played for the title in a double round robin. 
5) The revised and combined players' list includes IM Jason Goh, himself an extremely strong player and an ex-National Champion. He is therefore a more than worthy replacement for me for the Premier event. The question why Jason was included only now, and not in the earlier players' list was also valid, although I personally feel that his inclusion is beneficial for the tournament.
6) I had informed the SCF President of my withdrawal a day after the technical meeting, via email. I listed down a number of reasons, the main one being the change of stipulations without my involvement. 
7) I did not receive an official acknowledgement, neither did I receive a reply to my withdrawal notification.  
With the above facts, I will leave it to the readers to form their own conclusions. I would have loved to participate (my 12th year in a row, probably an unmatched record) but will regrettably be watching from the sidelines this year. 
In the meantime, Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!