Saturday, 22 June 2013

Sergei Tiviakov wins KL Masters

The palace of the golden horses

 The game was not at our usual venue, the Swiss Inn, but rather the opulent palace of the golden horses. The last round was moved here to accommodate the sponsors Masterskills University, who have been sponsoring chess for quite a few years now. While we were having our last round, the Malaysian championship was having it's first.

The theme continues in grand style inside

The palace is located on a lake in alongside a golf course, many luxury apartments and a shopping mall. Everything is connected by boat. This one looked interesting.

Cute, a boat that looks like a bus !
It is a bus!!
                                                                             The view from the boat

Looks like a great place for a stroll. This would be a nice place to come for a holiday.

Back to the tournament. Sergei Tiviakov showed amazing concentration and will to win, Despite being out of form, his own words, and having several lost positions, including against tail ender Dr GM Wong Meng Kong, he still won easily. Thomas Luther was second and Ricardo Nolte third.

The last day started at 6am for me. Instead of taking the public transport option, walk, train, bus I decided to wake an hour earlier and get driven in comfort. It didn't help much. The hallucinations started early and by move 20 they were already fatal. 

To give you a look inside my melted jelly brain I'll tell you why I played Nd6. I was calculating {ahem} 21.Rg4 but of course that doesn't work because of Rf5 22.Rg5 Rf3 and now I can't take on g7 because it's covered by the bishop. Hence 21.Nd6! which I figured can't be taken...forgetting the rook is still on e5.

Oh well, the bright side is that if I had not lost this game so abysmally I would have been tempted back to the tropics for a tournament sooner.

That's all from Malaysia my friends, next post will come from France.
Adieu mes amis :-)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

KL Masters round 9

Today, for your viewing pleasure, I present a bloat of Hippopatimi. In my last post you saw a white hippo, now here you have a black hippo. White got nothing from the opening again, for the same reason as in the last game. Without your flank pawns you can't hurt a hippo. Just look at the position after move 13 and compare the bishops. That speaks volumes.

Padmini defended superbly but took too long finding great moves and just before the time control she lost a pawn. It was quite an important one and my pieces were controlling all the important squares so defending was a thankless task. She tried to solve her problems tactically but that just hastened the end as it so often does.

So tomorrow I have a bye and then on Saturday we play the last round. Should I trot out the hippo again? 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

KL Masters round 8

Yay! I was beginning to think that I might match my previous record of seven consecutive losses. It was a morning round at the indecent time of 9am, I was playing a promising junior who has been well trained and was highly motivated.

My plan was to avoid main lines and get a position I was more familiar with than he was. The hippo seemed like a good choice and it worked like a charm. Your colour doesn't matter as much as the plan. A classical setup with knights on c3/6 f3/6 blocking your c and f pawns poses no problems for the hippo.

The amazing thing about the position is that even the computer evaluates the opening structure in blacks favour because of the extra central space. My opponent on the other hand understood that he is suffering from the lack of an active plan. When the pieces met in active combat my engine, stockfish, finally changed it's evaluation. 19...Ne5 was just a blunder that hangs the whole position. Qd3 was much better with a messy position. White should have played a bit more restrained actually.

Anyway, time for a little rest. Next game is just over an hour away.

KL Masters round 7

First the promised picture of Petaling streets 60th birthday party. Normally this entire street is filled with stalls from one end to the other with shops and hotels on both sides. If you come to KL this is the place to come.

Now to today's game. I extended my losing streak to four. But this is by no means a record. That stands at seven from Cuba a few years ago. I should mention that my winning streak record is nine {city if Sydney junior} with a few sevens like in the Australian championship in 1992 and several sixes. Perhaps I should not admire Alexander Morozevich so much.

This might be a funny thing to say but I don't feel that I am playing so badly, just at some stage of the game I play a horrible move. Today it was 31...Bc6 which allows the white bishop in on d6. Also not tragic but suddenly white has counterplay. Virtually any other move especially one tagging c5, which was a theme throughout the whole game and black has two protected passers. I ended up losing them both.

Still, I enjoyed the game. Must be a masochistic streak.

Tomorrow is the next dreaded double round. Can I score tomorrow? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

KL Masters round 6

After the disastrous double round Sunday I sorely needed the rest day to recharge my batteries. And it was a nice day. First I and my room mate IM Oliver Dimakiling went to the fabulous Central Markets, which are only a short walk from our hotel.

IM Oliver Dimakiling

                      Inside there are a multitude of stores selling all kinds of local art, clothing, jewellery, food electronics, all in air conditioned comfort.

The food court is on the first floor. Every stall has a different speciality. There is even one selling the local version of western food. Avoid. No, I didn't try it. The display was enough.

If you have a sweet tooth then you are catered for as well. 

We finished with a coconut outside. Advertised it Sea Coconut but Oliver assures me they were ordinary ones so you might say we got ripped off.

The t-shirts say it all :-)

Later that night outside the hotel Petaling street celebrated it's 60th birthday. I'll post the pictures when the Internet connection improves. At the moment it's stalled again.

And now we get to the game. I had time for reflection on the rest day and decided not to be too creative but just to play solid positional chess. Well that plan worked like a dream. I got a slight edge out of the opening, carefully nursed it through the queenless middlegame and emerged with a healthy extra pawn after the time control {move 40}

Now I had to find a way to convert. Since I still had theoretical chances of a GM norm if I won the rest of my games a draw was out of the question. Besides I was a pawn up. I did find a way of avoiding the many forced draws but....  The move I missed was 48. Rd2  which turns the tables. Oh well nothing ventured...

In open tournaments when you hit a bad patch you play lower down the field. No such luck here. Oh well, am enjoying it anyway. Would be nice to add to my score before the tournament finishes. Please send positive vibes my way :-)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

KL Masters round 5

Definitely the wrong side of the bed day today. Already on move 6 I made the serious mistake f5. Not only had I made it before { getting away with it last time } but in our post mortem Mas told me, he had too :-) I nevertheless got a playable position before again getting...ahem...creative.  14...d5 is so weak that I cannot reconstruct the train-wreck of thought that led to it.

Anyway, before you look at this disaster let me show you a few pictures. Peter Long, the organiser and old mate, must have thought I needed some consolation after my duck eggs today so he took me to dinner at one of our favourite haunts, Kayu!

There are many different curries to choose from. We had lamb shanks and fish curry.

It is a pleasure to watch your roti or tosai being made by a real master. The skill is very similar to that of making Pizza.

And here are the fresh roties. Hungry yet?

Ok,so if you still want to see the game here it is.

Tomorrow is a rest day. You may ask why have a double round and then a rest day....
Anyway, after the rest day I am playing Tiviakov, the top seed, and will try not to castle queenside.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

KL Masters round 4

Did I ever mention that I hate morning rounds? And especially when there are two rounds in one day? Well I got a bit too agro today and neglected to castle early, develop my pieces and play in the centre, things I tell my students to do every day that I teach.

The opening turned out terrible, I somehow survived to a messy position but was left playing on the increment of 30 seconds from move 20 onwards. All credit to Kevin, although he was short of time as well he played the computer recommendation on most of his moves.

Lessons? Play normal chess, practise what I preach, especially in the morning. Well, it was fun anyway.

Now a few hours rest and then I play Malaysia's long time hope for the future and many time board one of the national team, Mas Hafizulhelmi. He was coached for many years by Australian GM Ian Rogers. The fact that he is still not a GM has more to do with the pressures of work and family though, I'm sure.

Now that he has quit his high pressure job at the Petronas Oil company and is a full time player and coach his natural talent should take him to the title.

I have the black pieces so will need to play a lot better than this morning to score. Now the GM norm requires 6/6, a feat only Australian GM Zong Yuan Zhao has accomplished as far as I know. Wish me luck! 

KL Masters round 3

The Doubleroo Defense reared its heads again! To make the 7.5 points needed for a grandmaster norm I need to score a lot of full points from now on so I decided to provoke my opponent today. Usually not a smart move against an experienced grandmaster but I was feeling rested, well fed and optimistic...and not especially smart :-)

The roos {knights which move to a6 and/or h6 according to Tony Miles) hopped happily into the middle and a careless move like 14.Nxf5 would have led to a good attack for black but West Asia's first GM sensibly just swapped pieces and around move 25 there was nothing left to play for for either colour so we adjourned to our eating place for dinner and beers.

Tomorrow is the first of the two dreaded double round days so I had better look at some of my morning opponents { IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming} games. He is a strong Singaporean IM who is playing for a GM norm to go with his other ones so I will have to be at my best.

Cheerio amigoes, Hasta manjana. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

KL Masters, round 2 and pictorial.

Before we get to today's game, let me take you for a walk around Chinatown, where the hotel is situated. The Swiss Inn is the perfect venue. The main entrance opens onto a busy road and the other entrance, onto Petaling street, the busy shopping and restaurant area. We start our walk from the main entrance pictured below.

And we turn right at Jalan Hang Jebat, a special picture dedicated to my countrymen :-)

The next corner and we are at the entrance to Petaling street. This is early morning. The stalls go up in the afternoon and then there is hardly any room to move. I'll show you another day.

Along the way there is a long alley that serves as a produce market.

And just before we get back to the hotel, having gone in a circle, we pass a fruit stand. For less than an Aussie dollar you can get a little bag of pre-cut pineapple, mango, jackfruit or whatever takes your fancy. 

Now to get to my game. Dr GM Wong Meng Kong is Singapores first and only native Grandmaster but plays rarely these days as he has a day job. He obviously has not warmed up yet as this was his second consecutive loss. A look at the database will show you that he is a very creative and dangerous player and just like Vassily Ivanchuck, you never know when he will strike.

This game was all about one horse, the monster on d4. Once it got there blacks days were numbered.

That's all folks, tune in tomorrow, same time {roughly} same station.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

KL Masters round 1


Well my long awaited journey to France via Malaysia got off to an inauspicious start.Wednesday was raining as I was driving all over the place trying to get last minute things done, things I should have sorted well before. So after a long and harried day I finally made it onto the packed plane and despite being very tired, couldn't sleep. Main reason being that after all day in the car my "sitzfleisch" was not appreciating the seat.

Anyway, I arrived in KL on time but spent the next hour trying to get online with one of my three electronic devices, Phone, Ipad and laptop, all to no avail. I had forgotten to ask which Hotel I was in so now I was stuck at "Sentral" with 4kg of Morton Bay Bugs slowly melting in my suitcase. I  tried the public phonebox but kept getting messages in Bahasa, probably telling me I was dialling wrong.

Anyway, after an hour of pure frustration, punctuated by the occasional attempt so connect I decided to get a cab to a Hotel I thought I had read somewhere was associated with the tournament. I got lucky! It was the right  Hotel.

I checked in, had breakfast and it was time for the players meeting. This was a short formality where time limits were discussed and lots drawn. I drew number 11 {out of 11} and was paired against GM Thomas Luther of Germany in the first round. 

I did manage to get two hours sleep before the game but that was not enough to keep concentrated past the first time control. My first little inaccuracy occurred on move 13. Just 13....Nd5 followed by Re8 is even a bit better for black according to my engine {stockfish}. Then late in the ending after many concessions I was intending to play 45....Ke6 and changed my mind at the last moment giving away the last drawing chances.

Then after the game the Internet didn't work so I was unable to post this until now, 2am. Lesson for today is that one should not turn up in the morning of the day of the first round but rather a day or two before, but I already knew that.

Other lesson, if playing someone who has just arrived with no sleep and jet-lag, play a long drawn out game with a boring ending. Chances are  they will crack eventually. You always learn something from playing a GM :-)

Hasta manjana amigoes!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Brodie McClymont wins Peninsula open

Brodie won with a picket fence 7/7. He was in trouble in round 5 against Yi Liu but apart from that his tournament looked like plain sailing. I was second on 6/7 and Tony Weller finished in clear third! A sensational result for Tony in a strong field.

The other prizes were mainly taken by the juniors. I'll publish those results when I find them. Now, back to what's important, my games :-)

Round 6

It would be presumptuous to call Yi Liu "my student" as he was a very talented junior long before we met, but last term I started teaching at his school, Churchie, and he has been in my class. Today I was able to pass on a variation taught to me by GM Tony Miles two decades ago in Adelaide.

This was my best game from this tournament. I believe white had to get e4 in to get any advantage. This, combined with the knight dance f3, h4, f3, g5, e6 put a lot of pressure on black's position. Maybe Yi should have castled instead of 15...d4 but I nevertheless prefer white.

Round 7

John Harris played the opening like a Grandmaster, specifically GM Dorian Rogozenko. He made the same mistake in the second round of the Wine tournament a few years ago. The game and wine tournament post is here.


I hope you enjoyed these games. More are coming soon from Malaysia. Stay tuned :-)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Peninsula Open, rounds 4+5

First up in the morning I had to play Brodie with black. 18...f5 was based on a miscalculation which obliged me to sack a pawn. I got some counterplay only to miscalculate the ending. Shows I need a warm up before Malaysia.

So feeling quite dejected after the morning debacle, I played this game quite aimlessly until my opponent made an error in his calculations. Well, as Lasker said  long time ago, chess is all about calculation...or something like that.

And so in a few hours the final day starts. Toodles!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Peninsula Open 2013

After some radio silence expect a flurry of posts. I am escaping the winter for some chess in Malaysia and France. But before leaving why not warm up a bit? The Peninsula Open offered the perfect opportunity.

Since I was a teenager I regularly wrote "Solomon" on my scoresheet. Today, for the first time, the initial was different. Anthony, like his dad Steven, seems to like endings. Black got a playable position but missed a couple of tic tacs.

Many years ago Tony crushed me badly in an open tournament. Today he allowed me too much space on the Kingside, where his King was :-)

I got the round time wrong for this game. I arrived just on forfeit time but George was not even thinking of claiming a win, he had come to play! We had a fierce tactical fight which I thought I had negotiated perfectly...until my engine slapped me in the face. On move 28 black has a mate in 4. My lucky day.

Next round 10am tomorrow. I'll have to watch checks tomorrow.

Sweet dreams,