Monday, 5 December 2016

Japfa International Masters Tournament 2016 Round 1

Occasionally I forget what a privileged life I have had,  and continue to have. We chessplayers get paid to go to places other people have to save up for to see, stay at great Hotels, on this occasion the Novotel Jakarta Gajah Mada, enjoy the facilities, spectacular food and all we have to do is play some chess!

Grandmaster Senator Utut Adianto (dark suit)
This event is the brainchild of Grandmaster Utut Adianto who is now a Senator in Indonesia's upper house of parliament. I knew him well when he was still a chessplayer and a legend in Asian chess. Of course I was never in his league but did beat him in a rapid tournament once :-)

Great playing conditions.
Like I said, we live a life of privilege, perhaps undeserved, so the least I can do is to try to play entertaining chess for the fans and sponsors. Hopefully they feel they got their moneys worth today.

Round 1 

I recently gave a lecture about preparing for your opponent at the Brisbane chess club. Today was a good example of how this works in practice. My opponent has a very solid but predictable repertoire and one thing I noticed is that he always plays the Kan (2...e6) Sicilian. I noticed he had never met 2.b3 so I hoped he would be unfamiliar with some of the subtleties.

It's funny how a little difference can make life difficult early on. 5....Be7 is already a noticeable concession because it allows white to play 6.d4 under favourable circumstances. 5...Nc6 does not because the e5 pawn is tagged.

11...Bd7 took me completely by surprise as I thought swapping queens was forced with an unpleasant ending for black. After 12.Nd6+ Ke7 I was tempted by 13.c5 which sacks a pawn in several different ways but after half an hour I still couldn't work out all the consequences. I also had a perfectly acceptable alternative in the safe 13.Ne4. Time was not the problem, I had plenty left but was busting...

To gamble or play it safe. Oh well, can't change the habits of a lifetime, my "toilet move" as Nigel Short calls it was c5. I had spent most of my time analysing the only good reply 13...Qc7 but instead came 13...Nd5 and white just had to mop up. A fun crush.

Tomorrow the double rounds start, first one at 9am. There is a price to be paid for all this luxury :-)
Wish me luck Comrades

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