Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bangkok Open Round 9

Round 9

Guess who got lucky today? I did get a good position again but squandered it near the time control, but just a few moves later my opponent played 44...Ne6 which is a horrible blunder. After the better Nh5 I suspect that I would have struggled to hold a draw.

Now we have to take a quick lunch, then the prizegiving ( I have no idea who won ) and then a flight to Malaysia. Pics later. :-)

Friday, 18 April 2014

Bangkok Open Round 8

Well that was an exciting game, and a point gone begging. I had several chances to win, probably the most natural being 24... Qh2+ 25.Kf2 Ra4 and my opponent would have been a pawn down and being attacked. Of course I saw the check but did not see a clear continuation. All credit to my opponent who sacked the pawn to mess the position up a bit since he realised he was being outplayed.

He said as much after the game and realised he was in trouble. Only the insipid 27... Ba7 turns the game in white's favour. Still, I am not too disappointed because at least I made a fight out of it and gave a 2600+ player a proper scare :-) Enjoy. 

My only regret is that now I do not get to play Jan Gustafsson but since it is a morning round maybe its enough to be facing a 2451 GM, Gerhard Schebler, instead. Better set the alarm :-) 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Bangkok Open Round 7

The heat here is oppressive outside the hotel but we braved it anyway. Even after the game at 7pm I could have filled a bucket. I and a friend, IM Atanu Lahiri from India, went for a walk to sample some local street-food and were not disappointed. 

By the way, 60 Baht is about AUD$2 so dinner need not be expensive. 

And you can always see your food being made.

Round 7
 Ok, on to the game. Monika mishandled my slightly offbeat opening. Since she has nearly 2000 games in the database and a very well worked out repertoire I thought it better to take her on a road less travelled and it worked out quite well for a while. By move 30 I was completely winning but could not believe I was not just winning a piece and looked at all the different moves that threatened to take the pinned Knight on f4. 30g3 is best but after Nh3 + 31.Kg2 f4 I missed the killing 32.Bd5.

My next best alternative was 30.Qb4 which leads to a winning ending but I thought Qd4 was better, completely missing 30....Qg2. Luckily white keeps an advantage anyway. I then continued to miss embarrassingly easy instant wins like  43. Kc3 winning a piece instantly instead of the "positional" Kc5. puhing b6 also won on several occasions but I wanted to avoid all calculation since my brain was just not working anymore.

In the end I managed to finally beat a higher rated player for the first time in months. Phew...

As my reward I now get to play her husband, GM Bartosz Socko 2635!. Scary as he will be out for revenge and I have yet to beat a 2600+ player. I need you all to cross your fingers and toes and send your combined brainpower my way :-)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Bangkok Open Round 6

Francisco Vallejo has opened up a half point lead on the field going into the last three rounds and faces his biggest challenge tomorrow, defending with black against second seed Jan Gustafsson. You can follow this and other games live on the official site

Also, in case you didn't know it, the FIDE elections are coming up in August. Former world champion Garry Kasparov is challenging Alien invitee Kirsan Ilumzhinov  for the presidency of the World Chess Federation (aka FIDE)

Since this tournament is a major event here in Asia there is a lot of campaigning going on behind the scenes. Peter Long has written an amusing and informative post on his blog about Ignatius Leong's newly created blog, FIDE X-files. Make up your own mind and if you have the time do tell me what you think :-) 

Round 6

Todays game should have been a draw but my talented young opponent, Bahkti Kulkarni, chose not to swap queens on move 14 thinking that the ending was a problem for her. I don't see it but after 14.Qc2 black does have some chances. A lucky break for me.

As my reward I get to play GM Monika Socko tomorrow. This lady is rated 2450 and is seriously strong. Wish me luck, I'll need it :-)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Bangkok Open 2014 Round 5

This time of year is famous for the "Songkran festival". It can be a bit of a surprise for the unsuspecting tourist.

One gets smeared with some kind of plaster and then shot with waterpistols or doused with buckets of water.

as soon as we left the hotel people were waiting for us all along the street.



and I braved the water gauntlet to eat at the "Papaya", a nice restaurant around the corner from the hotel. The food is definitely recommendable. I had to try the Snakehead fish.

Round 5

My chess is not improving that much. I played inaccurately in the opening, moving my bishop to c2 instead of the less natural but a tempo better 13.Bb1, the point being that it gets to a2 in two moves instead of three. Then after 16...Na5 I needed to play 17.Bb5 so as not to be worse. My opponent let me off the hook by playing 19....Bf6 instead of Bd5. My next blunder was 21.Ba1 instead of the very strong d5! which I calculated (term used loosely) for about half an hour and then talked myself out of. No idea why. And what kind of move is Ba1??

Anyway after a few more pointless moves, which at least didn't blunder anything, my opponent offered me a draw when I was down to 13 minutes and stood worse. i was happy to get out of there.

I apologise to the viewers for the quality of my games. I'll try to do better in the last three rounds....or failing that bring you better pictures :-) I'm off to the blitz finals, see you tomorrow.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Bangkok Open 2014 Round 4

At breakfast today I had the pleasure of meeting one of the legends of chess, Grandmaster Eugene Torre. Cherry-picking form his many achievements I will just mention that he was a candidate for the world championship, Asia's first grandmaster, 18 time Olympian and beat Anatoly Karpov when he was world champion. He was also a friend of Bobby Fischer and part of Fischer's team when he defeated Boris Spassky in the match of the century. It is always a pleasure to meet this true gentleman.

Breakfast itself was quite nice and as promised, here are some pictures of the buffet.

All kinds of bread and cakes, croissants etc,

the omelette bar,

cold meats, cheese and wheatgrass,


freshly made asian soup,

and fruit :-)

Then it was time to prepare for my game, have a nap and swim. Unfortunately I did not check the round times carefully enough and turned up just after 2.30 instead of at 2pm. Next I missed with my preparation, played a few weak moves and had to resign at move 25. Not my afternoon :-(

Round 4

My opponent usually plays catalany systems so I was not expecting the main line against my Tigers modern. I suspect preparation. I offered a pawn sack on move 10 to get some activity but unlike my previous opponent in this line GM Khenkin, John Paul did not take it so I played a different one which he did take and I got neither my pawn back nor any activity. My position soon collapsed. 

Well there goes the perfect score, I'll just have to turn up on time tomorrow and play a bit better. All those breakfast buffet pics have made me hungry so I'll bid you adieu. Thanks for dropping by :-)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Rounds 2 + 3

Amazingly I managed to escape the dreaded double round (with 9am morning round) day unscathed. Both were quite scrappy games where I hung in there a bit longer.

Round 2

I misplayed the opening somewhat and my 14...f6 is a woeful attempt to avoid simplification after which I am just worse. My opponent repaid the favour with 22.Ne5 after which my problems vanish. The heavy piece ending is just better for black.

Round 3
Again I tried to be clever in the opening and got nowhere although I thought my position looked good. I only got into trouble after 41. Qd5 which leads to a horrible ending but my young opponent was to eager to penetrate with his King and ended up in a mating net. Lucky.

Well so for the first time in ages I have 3/3 and should have escaped the Piranha tank, so tomorrow I expect to be swimming with the sharks and there are some White Pointers in this tournament so please wish me luck. Luckily all the rest are single rounds in the afternoon (apart from the last round) so I will have no excuses :-)

Tomorrow you will get some pictures :-)