Sunday, 15 July 2018

Ben Hague wins the George Trundle Masters, scores IM norm!

George Trundle Memorial Round 9


Ben Hague lived on a knife's edge all tournament, from the first round on where he survived a deadly attack against Vishal. His last round game had more roundabouts than Canberra, as Daniel was winning, then Ben, then it was a draw, which both sides spurned many times. You can view this game and al the others on the Newzealand Chess News Website

https://www.newzealandchess.nz/2018/Vega/wwwGeorgeTrundleMasters/games.html

Finally the result all Kiwi's were hoping for but had abandoned many times, actually happened. Ben won the tournament and got his norm. Congratulations are most definitely in order. 


Vishal, after failing to find a one move win in round one against Ben, played, in my opinion, the best chess. As a coach and trainer to many of India's top players, he has a wealth of knowledge and a keen sense of position and the initiative. He never looked in trouble and seemed to be giving lessons instead of playing games.

This was his first tournament in decades and was only lured out of retirement by the opportunity to visit New Zealand. Perhaps this successful outing will inspire him to play again occasionally.


Chris Wallis was heading for an IM norm before coming unstuck in round 7 against Daniel Gong. He works very hard on his chess and I'm sure he'll join the ranks of Australian IM's soon.


I shared 4-5 with Alexei Kulashko on 5/9. The other notable result was the shocker the top seed, Gary Lane had. Often in a tournament, something goes wrong and goes from bad to worse, as I experienced recently in Mumbai. He will be back.


The qualifiers tournament was won by Gord Morrell, a Canadian import, and the organiser, Mike Steadman, who spent his last 10 days ensuring everything runs smoothly while playing excellent chess. Not to mention the year+ of assembling the field and communicating with fickle chessplayers. Thanks for everything, Mike. 

Then there was the Chief Arbiter Keong Ang and His deputy, Helen Milligan, who ran everything with calm professionalism. Helen also found time to take pictures, input games and many other things required in a tournament that I and the players are unaware of.

The one thing that annoyed me a bit is that many people, even prizewinners did not have the good manners to stay for the prizegiving ceremony. May I suggest that if you don't attend the closing, your prize should be considered a "donation" to the after party.

Round 9

I finally managed to win a game again and it was by playing sensibly. Not launching optimistic premature attacks before all the pieces are developed. Actually, by developing, playing central chess and avoiding unnecessary complications, the game did play itself. 


[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.15"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Polishchuk, Kirill"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2128"]
[BlackElo "2335"]
[ECO "C46i"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.d3 h6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.h3 d6 8.a3
Nd7 9.O-O Nd4 10.Nb5 Nxb5 11.Bxb5 c6 12.Bc4 O-O 13.Nh2 Kh7 14.f4 exf4
15.Bxf4 Nb6 16.Rb1 d5 17.exd5 Nxd5 18.Bd2 Be6 19.Qf3 Qh4 20.Ng4 f5
21.Nh2 b5 22.Bb3 Bxb2 23.Rxb2 Qd4+ 24.Qf2 Qxb2 25.Re1 Qf6 26.Qc5 Bg8
27.Nf3 Rfe8 28.Rxe8 Rxe8 29.Kh1 g5 30.Nd4 f4 31.Nxc6 f3 32.Qxa7+ Kg6
33.Qf2 fxg2+ 34.Qxg2 Qxc6 35.c4 Ne7 36.Qxc6+ Nxc6 37.cxb5 Bxb3 38.
bxc6 Bd5+ 0-1

That's it from me for another tournament. It could have gone better, but it could have gone worse, but playing in New Zealand is always fun :-)

Saturday, 14 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 8

George Trundle Memorial Round 8

We had a quiet day today. Intermittent showers and exhaustion from the previous few days (tourism, not chess) put paid to our enthusiasm. Also, the tournament is hotting up and norms are on offer so all the players in the hunt are being a bit more serious. See for yourself.

https://newzealandchess.nz/2018/Vega/wwwGeorgeTrundleMasters/standing.html

Ben Hague, the leader, is the only one in the hunt now, as Chris Wallis got beaten by Vishal today in another scintillating attacking game. Watch all the games by clicking on

https://newzealandchess.nz/2018/Vega/wwwGeorgeTrundleMasters/games.html

Round 8

I really liked my position today, although Stockfish only awards white a very slight edge. White has a central space advantage, but that doesn't mean that black deserves to be mated. We both played reasonably normally until I lashed out with 23.d5. After that, it looks like two blind people fencing. I somehow found a perpetual.

[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.14"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Ang, Alphaeus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2335"]
[BlackElo "2204"]
[ECO "B07x"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Bg5 Nf6 5.Qd2 a6 6.O-O-O b5 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.
f3 Nc6 9.Nge2 Nb4 10.Bh6 Nxd3+ 11.cxd3 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 Qd7 13.Rd2 O-O-O
14.Kb1 Kb8 15.Rc1 Rc8 16.Nd1 e6 17.Rdc2 Qe7 18.Qh4 h5 19.Ne3 Nd5 20.
Qf2 Nb6 21.Qe1 h4 22.Qa5 f5 23.d5 exd5 24.Nd4 dxe4 25.dxe4 fxe4 26.f4
Qf7 27.a4 Nxa4 28.Nc6+ Bxc6 29.Rxc6 Qb3 30.Nd1 Qd3+ 31.Ka2 Nc5 32.
R1xc5 dxc5 33.Rb6+ cxb6 1/2-1/2

Last round tomorrow, luckily at the civilised hour of 2pm. This is one of the great things about chess in New Zealand. Chess has not been McDonaldised just yet. One round a day and all in the afternoon.

Friday, 13 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 7

George Trundle Memorial Round 7

Today was zoo day since time ran out yesterday. Is Auckland zoo worth going to? One can see every exhibit in under two hours even at a slow pace so it is definitely not Toronga park zoo in Sydney, but especially for families with small children, it is a great little place. It is laid out in continental sections with lots of information, playgrounds and cafes.  To be perfectly honest, I preferred the park shown yesterday, but its ok.


There is a little young Sri Lankan Elephant, curiously enough in the African section but let's not quibble. We saw it being fed and showered and here it is brushing its teeth with a log.


The pink flamingoes were very popular, especially when they spread their colourful wings.


In the South American section, we saw some Capybara, the largest rodents on earth. They were the size of pigs. I guess they would terrify your average domestic cat.


Tortoises under a sunlamp? I guess the Auckland temperature is a bit cold for them. 


Meerkats! According to an Attenborough documentary, some always stand guard to look for predators. Not these. They feel perfectly secure despite dozens of people gawking at them only a few feet away.


My favourite section was the Avery. This looks like a Kea. If you are in the mountains on the west coast of the north island, these cheeky birds will land on your car, ask for food, and if you don't deliver they take your windscreen wiper instead!

My game with Vishal today was a very short draw. He wanted to see more of Auckland with Arty and I felt like a rest day. So today instead of our half-dozen moves I present you with a brilliancy by Vishal against Paul Garbett from round four with annotations by the man himself.


[Event "George Trundle Masters 2018"]
[Site "Auckland NZL"]
[Date "2018.07.10"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Sareen, Vishal"]
[Black "Garbett, Paul Anthony"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2346"]
[BlackElo "2197"]
[ECO "B82"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]
[PlyCount "67"]

1.e4 {Well playing a serious tournament after more than a decade has 
its ups and downs. I blundered a dead-winning position and lost in 
round one, blundered a real chance in game two and drew and finally 
the third round game me back some blushes as I won with a queen 
sacrifice. I was in a good mood coming in to this game.  } 1...c5 2.
Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qc7 ( {Always happy to get a 
Sicilian defense especially when the opponent is older than me! } ) 
6.f4 a6 7.Nb3 {In the last game this is what my opponent played and I
was tempted to repeat. However here I deviated as I wanted some 
position which I could complicate} ( ) ( 7.Nb1 ) 7...d6 8.Bd3 Nf6 9.
Qf3 Be7 10.Be3 O-O 11.g4 d5 {Bang on! Its time for some action!} 12.
e5 Nd7 13.O-O-O {May be there are better moves but I had taken some 
time reaching this position and I couldn't be bothered} 13...Nb4 14.
Kb1 b5 15.Qf2 f6 {This I think is bad. I completely missed that he 
could play f6 and then it was time to hold my head again...} 16.exf6 
Bxf6 17.Ne2 Bb7 {After what I ahd done this seemed pretty logical for
me. Somehow I had a feeling I was probably not worse. My opponent 
here had to make a difficult choice here and he just went wrong} 18.
Rhg1 {After what I had done this seemed pretty logical for me. 
Somehow I had a feeling I was probably not worse. My opponent here 
had to make a difficult choice here and he just went wrong} 18...e5 
19.Bf5 g6 {I think he just missed the ideas associated with this move
} 20.Be6+ Kh8 {After this its almost over... wait, is it?} 21.c3 d4 
22.cxb4 dxe3 23.Qxe3 Nb6 24.Nc5 {I thought I was just almost winning 
here as the threats with g5-Nf4-g6 were too strong to meet.} 24...
exf4 25.Nxf4 Bc6 26.g5 {This allows a pretty finish!} 26...Be5 27.
Nxg6+ hxg6 28.Rd7 Rf3 {Cool isn't it! Somehow I had missed a trick 
from black which actually helped in the end.} ( ) 29.Qe1 Bg3 {I had 
Rc7 at my disposal which would win but I had about twenty minutes 
left and I figured out I can still calculate!} 30.hxg3 Nxd7 31.Rh1+ 
Kg7 32.Rh7+ Kf8 {While playing Qe1 I saw this and was mighty pleased 
} ( ) 33.Bxd7 Kg8 34.Be6+ {It still mates on h6 without both rooks! }
1-0

Thursday, 12 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 6


George Trundle Memorial Round 6

Auckland is not only a water but also a garden city. We thought we would check out Kiwi fauna today with a visit to the zoo. First a little walk around the lake.


The birdlife is extremely friendly. This could be due to the fact that people feed them. As soon as you arrive, ducks, swans, seagulls, pigeons etc, come over to see if you have any food on offer. We came unprepared.


This goose was particularly forward and patient but left disappointed. 


Cute is not the word for this scene. Mind you, don't threaten the chicks whatever you do. These Swans are huge with large claws and a bony beak. 


Weird stone sculptures are dotted around the lake as well.


Some kind of pretty waterfowl.


And finally a tiny Japanese garden.


When we finally made it to the zoo, we only had about 45 minutes to spare and decided to leave it until tomorrow. 

Round 6

Well, there is no way I could have guessed 6.a4 so its good I didn't spend the morning preparing. My first instinct was to answer a5, which is probably the most sensible move. But no, I had to punish Alexei for his audacity and came up with the super creative plan of Rb8 and b5. After 10.d5 my position looked like one of the pigeons from the park had just walked over it. I managed to complicate it a bit and got a nice piece sac in with 31...Nf4. Alexei was now short on time and failed to find the best way, although by now he was searching for equality. He didn't find it and by the time-control, I was a pawn up with a safer King. I overestimated my position, expecting it to win itself and after swapping rooks, the evaluation was 00.00

A relief and a disappointment.

[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.12"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Kulashko, Alexei"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2336"]
[BlackElo "2335"]
[ECO "A49"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.a4 Nbd7 7.a5 Rb8 8.
Nc3 b5 9.axb6 axb6 10.d5 Bb7 11.Nd4 Ra8 12.Rxa8 Qxa8 13.e4 Nc5 14.b4
e5 15.Ndb5 Na6 16.Na2 Nb8 17.Nac3 Ne8 18.Bg5 f6 19.Be3 Ba6 20.Re1
Bxb5 21.Nxb5 Qa4 22.Qd3 f5 23.Bd2 fxe4 24.Bxe4 Nd7 25.Qc4 Qa8 26.Bg5
Ndf6 27.Bg2 Qc8 28.h3 Qd7 29.Be3 Qf7 30.Qb3 Nh5 31.Rf1 Nf4 32.gxf4
exf4 33.Bd4 f3 34.Bh1 Qd7 35.Bxf3 Qxb5 36.c4 Qd7 37.Bg4 Qe7 38.Qe3
Qh4 39.Re1 h5 40.Be6+ Kh7 41.Rd1 Rf4 42.Bxg7 Nxg7 43.Re1 Rxc4 44.b5
Qf6 45.Kg2 Rc3 46.Qe4 Qg5+ 47.Kh2 Rc1 48.Rxc1 Qxc1 49.Qf3 Qb2 50.Qf7
h4 51.Kg2 Qd4 52.Qg8+ Kh6 53.Qh8+ Kg5 54.Qd8+ Kh6 55.Qg8 Kg5 56.Qd8+
Kh6 57.Qh8+ 1/2-1/2

Tomorrow I play Vishal with white...after a visit to the zoo. That way neither of us can prepare :-)

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 5

George Trundle Memorial Round 5

Arty, Vishal, and I took a bus down to the harbour today to see some sights. Auckland is the ultimate water city, with the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Ferry's go to different places, including Davenport, regularly. In the background is the historic ferry terminal and in the foreground, the biggest seagull I have ever seen. 


                                           The ferry terminal from another angle


Turn around and you have the maritime museum. If time permits, I'll pay it a visit and let you know if its worth the effort. I suspect it is.




This looks suspiciously like a boat that was featured in a documentary about some students who sailed around the world on a traditional Maori boat with solar panels being the only mod-con.


Botswana Butchery? Ok, I have no idea but am curious.

Round 5

Today I faced the top seed, IM Gary Lane, author of many fine chess books. We have played only once before, many years ago in an Australian championship. In that game, I played sophisticated hypermodern chess and got brutally crushed. I had expected Gary to play his usual stuff against the English, but he managed to surprise me on move 2. I was now thankful that I had not spent the whole morning preparing.

One funny moment was when he played 6...Bb4+. I have been troubled by Queen's bishops all tournament, so was glad to get them off the board. Gary then made the mistake of calculating 14...Nf5 for nearly an hour. His position was ok after he didn't play it (the correct decision) but he didn't then have the time to play with the accuracy demanded by quite a complicated decision. Without going into too much detail, he should have swapped rooks on the e file before playing Be6. A scrappy win, but I'll take it.

[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.11"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Lane, Gary"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2335"]
[BlackElo "2386"]
[ECO "A20"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]

1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 d5 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.d4 e4 6.Nh3 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+
8.Qxd2 Ne7 9.Nf4 O-O 10.Nc3 Nbc6 11.Rc1 Re8 12.h4 Bg4 13.f3 exf3 14.exf3 Bd7 15.Kf2 Nf5 16.Ncxd5 Nfxd4 17.Rhe1 Be6 18.Rc4 Bxd5 19.Rxe8+ Qxe8 20.Nxd5 Ne6 21.f4 Rd8 22.Qe3 Nf8 23.Qxe8 Rxe8 24.Nc7 Rd8 25.Bxc6 bxc6 26.Ke3 Rb8 27.b4 Rc8 28.Rxc6 Ne6 29.Nd5 Rd8
30.Ke4 g6 31.Rc8 Kf8 32.Rxd8+ Nxd8 33.Ke5 Nb7 34.a4 h5 35.a5 Ke8 36.
a6 Nd8 37.Kd6 1-0

Tomorrow I'm playing the only other player on 50%, Alexei Kulashko with black. Prep or sightseeing? Let's see what the weather is like in the morning :-)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 4

George Trundle Memorial Round 4

Today started quite nicely. IM Vishal Sareen and his wife Arty joined me on a walk up to Mt Eden to check out the view. Although it had rained earlier, by late morning it was sunny. 


As you can see below, a few minutes after the above picture was taken, Auckland showed us it's volatile temperament. Luckily the sheet of ice cold rain passed as quickly as it appeared.



The last two games I lost because I attacked before completing my development and I was very aware of this tendency before my game today, yet I repeated the error. I even spent a bit of time on move 7 contemplating Bg4 just to avoid repeating this error. No, I thought, closed position, I'll get around to it. Then, when Ben played 8.Ne2 on the very next move, I, of course, couldn't restrain myself.

In itself, my response was not too bad, but then I needed to follow up with 13...e3 14.fe3 Be3 15.Kh1 Nc5 with equality. 13...Re8 instead just got me into trouble because I couldn't open the f file anymore due to the weakness on f7. I thought for about 40 minutes and found a way not to lose immediately and held a draw somehow, although in the final position white was still a bit better if he doesn't repeat. Qd2 instead of Ne3 is possible.

Oh well, at least I avoided queenside castling.  Notice that the idiot on c8 is still there in the final position.

Round 4

[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.10"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Hague, Ben"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2356"]
[BlackElo "2335"]
[ECO "C26r"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 c6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Bg5 d6 7.O-O Nbd7 8.
Ne2 h6 9.Bh4 d5 10.exd5 cxd5 11.Bb3 e4 12.dxe4 dxe4 13.Nd2 Re8 14.Nc3
Qc7 15.Bg3 Qc6 16.Ba4 Qb6 17.Nc4 Qe6 18.Nd6 Bxd6 19.Bxd6 a6 20.Re1
Qf5 21.Bb3 Nc5 22.Bxc5 Qxc5 23.Nd5 Ng4 24.Ne3 Nf6 25.Nd5 Ng4 26.Ne3
Nf6 1/2-1/2

Tomorrow I'm playing the top seed, IM Gary Lane, with white. My goal will be to develop all my pieces.

Monday, 9 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 3

George Trundle Memorial Round 3

There must be some hallucinogen in the Auckland water supply judging by my game today. Of course, I should have played 11.f4 and play a normal Kings Indian type of position. Ok, playing on both sides is ok too, but 19.a5 is stupid. Attacking with not all pieces developed never works. 19.Qb4 with the idea of b4 is fine.

After that, it just got worse and I started hallucinating quite badly. Funny thing is, in the post-mortem, everything was crystal clear again. I'm not quite sure why the brain malfunctions when playing, then returns to normal.

[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.09"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Gong, Daniel"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "2335"]
[BlackElo "2319"]
[ECO "A01"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.g3 d5 5.Bg2 Bg4 6.Ne2 Qd7 7.h3 Be6 8.d3
O-O-O 9.Nd2 d4 10.e4 Ne8 11.a3 g6 12.b4 h5 13.f4 f6 14.Nf3 Bh6 15.b5
Ne7 16.a4 Bg7 17.Ba3 Nd6 18.Qb1 Kb8 19.a5 Nec8 20.b6 cxb6 21.fxe5
fxe5 22.axb6 a6 23.Ng5 Rhf8 24.Bc5 Qe7 25.Nf3 g5 26.Ra5 g4 27.hxg4
Bxg4 28.Neg1 Rf7 29.Ba3 Rdf8 30.Ke2 Qg5 31.Qc1 Bxf3+ 32.Nxf3 Qxg3 33.
Qf1 Qg6 34.Rh4 Bf6 35.Rh3 Rg8 36.Bh1 Nb5 37.Rxb5 axb5 38.Qb1 Qg4 39.
Rh2 Be7 40.Bxe7 Nxe7 41.Qa2 Qf4 42.Qa7+ Kc8 43.Qa8+ Kd7 44.Qxb7+ Ke6
45.Rf2 Qe3+ 46.Kf1 Qc1+ 47.Ke2 Qxc2+ 48.Kf1 Qd1+ *

So tomorrow I am playing the leader with black. Oh well, its always darkest before the dawn :-)