Brandon Clarke wins the NZ open
The end of a tournament can be quite busy as people are leaving, goodbye's are being said and a few drinks and dinners are being arranged. That is why I have only now found the time to finish my report....and laziness.
I changed my ticket back to Australia by a day so I wouldn't have to start with a bye in the first round, plus I had managed to recruit Brandon for the tournament and that would have meant both of us missing the first round. This did mean that we would miss the NZ blitz but sacrifices have to be made.
We still managed to play the Rapid. This was won by Timur Gareyev with 8.5/9
Timur then went one better and won the lightning with 9/9! Full results below.
Anthony Ker is a very solid player, who I have played many times over the years and always struggled to beat. I managed to walk into his preparation and got little from the opening. I was very optimistic after 22.d4 but with a few precise moves, he escaped.
[Event "NZ Ch 2019"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Ker, Anthony"]
1.c4 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.d3 d6 6.Rb1 e5 7.Nf3 Nge7 8.a3
a5 9.O-O O-O 10.Ne1 Be6 11.Nc2 d5 12.cxd5 Nxd5 13.Ne3 Nde7 14.Nc4 Rb8
15.a4 b6 16.f4 Qd7 17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.fxe5 Bxe5 19.Bf4 Bxf4 20.Rxf4 Nd5
21.Bxd5 Bxd5 22.d4 Bb7 23.d5 Rbd8 24.e4 f5 25.Qb3 fxe4 26.Rxf8+ Rxf8
27.Qxb6 Bxd5 28.Qxc5 Bc6 29.Qc4+ Qf7 30.Qxc6 1/2-1/2
So we come to the last round with Brandon in the lead by half a point from Timur and only needing half a point to guarantee first place, at least shared. I needed to win with black, which was always going to be tough. I was quite happy with my opening, thinking I had avoided forced drawing lines and could play a long game. 12...Bd7, planning Bc6 would have been a balanced battle but I got too ambitious too soon and went for the bishop instead with 12...Nf4, a move I had a bad feeling about, and indeed, it hands white a nice position.
On the last move of the game, I played 15...b5 and offered a draw, not really thinking about the position enough, thinking if ab, I could then play 16...Bc4 and transpose, but white need not and can instead play the much stronger 16.Nd6, which would have been unpleasant. Luckily my draw offer was accepted.
[Event "NZ Ch 2019"]
[White "Clarke, Brandon"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 d6 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.O-O O-O
8.h3 Ne5 9.Be2 c5 10.Nf3 Ng6 11.Nd2 a6 12.a4 Nf4 13.Nc4 Nxe2+ 14.Qxe2
Be6 15.Rd1 b5 1/2-1/2
So my New Zealand adventure is over and apart from two accidents it wasn't too bad. If I can learn to concentrate a bit better, perhaps I can maintain an average coaches level for now.
I feel concentrating on health and mental state is the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to long tournaments. My next tournament starts in a few hours.
I must be a glutton for punishment 😏