Friday, 31 December 2010

Hastings round 4

Many of England's top players come to Hastings every year and not just for the Chess. There are many side events like the pairs blitz. The combined rating must not exceed 4400. When you pair 2500 with 1900 you get very entertaining games. Since it is held at the Pig in Paradise the atmosphere is great.
Between rounds some players and spectators stand outside in the freezing cold to satisfy various addictions. Here is a selection of Britains finest.
Now to Chess. Today I played Richard Pert with the black pieces. He struck me with a novelty (8.e5) that he had been waiting to spring on someone for a year. My position was so bad that at least one friend stopped watching the live feed as he saw no point in watching me suffer. But through stubborn defense, a few second-best moves from my opponent and one really sleazy trick at the end I managed to grovel a draw. 

Well that's all for this year folks, here is wishing you all a very happy new years eve. I will wait for 2011 at the Pig.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Hastings round 3

Long game today, at several stages there was drawing danger. I got a good position from the opening but played too lazily assuming if I had a queen and my opponent didn't I would win without effort. Oh well.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Hastings round 2

Not a bad day today, my opponent stumbled into one of the very few lines I know and although I had some trouble remembering it was enough to get an advantage. I am sure I let the noose slip but just as it was getting messy he offered a draw. Not being able to find anything clear I accepted. The postmortem did not clear anything up.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Pig in Paradise

Although I do not refer to myself it does seem appropriate. I do not remember the last time I played in a tournament where all the rounds are played at the same time of day. No morning rounds, no double rounds or weekender time controls. Hastings has the unmistakable Stewart Reuben stamp on it. There is always some room for improvement, like more stable tables, more elbow room and the playing hall is a bit chilly but all told a job well done. After the game one can wander around the town and it's many pubs restaurants and Cafes. I spent the evening at the "Pig in Paradise", an old favorite amongst chess players.  More details and pictures of Hastings soon. First todays game

Now I need to do some prep. My reward for this gem is black against the top seed Edouard Romain. Any ideas?....anybody?....

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Antipodeans in London.

It is a long way to the Heart of the Empire but four of us made it.The Womens tournament features Shannon Oliver from Australia who is in London primarily for the shopping I assume but has has the convenient excuse of Study to mask her spree of the London shops.
After winning her first round game against top seed IMSusan Lalic she has not fared so well and is on 1/4

Natasha Fairly has the same score through two draws.
Another New Zealand star is here, Sue Maroroa, but she is restricting her Chess to blitz

and yours truly has recovered from the mobile loss with three straight wins.
Here are two of them

In the main tournament Luke McShane has been joined by Vishy Anand in the lead. The official site  has more.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

My trip to London has not started  optimally to say the least. First there was security at Munich Airport. You don't need to go to the USA to get a good grope, for the mere price of an airline ticket you can get one in Germany. The amount of security with scary weapons is increasing as well.
Next was Customs in Stansted.  I was asked endless questions for no particular reason. The young Lady seemed unable to understand how one can travel all the time. Perhaps it was just curiosity.
Next day the London classic started and I am playing in the Open. Fellow Australian Shannon Oliver is playing in the Womens tournament and started with a Bang beating IM Susan Lalic. Shannon told me it was he first competitive game in two years!
In the main tournament Luke McShane caused a sensation by crushing Magnus Carlsen
As for me... well the game was just embarrassing. I played atrociously but my opponent missed a few ways early . Just as I was trying to find a way to make my extra pawn count my mobile phone turned itself on. It was in my pocket and I guess something pressed on the on button. Oh well,