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

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.

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

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! }

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 :-)

Sunday, 8 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 2

George Trundle Memorial Round 2

Well folks, today did not go exactly as planned :-)  I was expecting d4 and decided to react with a surprise of my own, but something I new nothing about. This explains my "novelty" Qg4 on move 9. Correct is the natural Nc6 but I was reluctant to play it, being worried about 10. Nb5. It's not as scary as it looks. My next mistake was not playing the natural 12...Be6 because I didn't want to give my opponent the two Bishops and a small edge and instead played the ambitious (weak) Ne7. Now my position was difficult and one miscalculation later (18...f4) it was all over. Gotta give credit where it's due, Christopher played solid, good moves and calculated well.

So tomorrow I am white against Daniel Gong, one of the young norm aspirants. A bit more effort is required, both before and during the game.

  Round 2

[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.08"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Wallis, Christopher"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2320"]
[BlackElo "2335"]
[ECO "C41p"]
[EventDate "2018.07.07"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.dxe5 Nxe4 5.Qd5 Nc5 6.Bg5 Qd7 7.exd6 Bxd6
8.Nc3 O-O 9.O-O-O Qg4 10.h3 Qb4 11.Nd4 Nc6 12.Be3 Ne7 13.Qh5 Na4 14.
Nxa4 Qxa4 15.Kb1 a6 16.Bd3 f5 17.g4 g6 18.Qh6 f4 19.b3 Qa5 20.Bc4+
Nd5 21.Nf5 Bxf5 22.Bxd5+ Qxd5 23.Rxd5 Be4 24.Bd4 Rf7 25.Rg5 Bf8 26.
Qh4 c5 27.Re1 Bxc2+ 28.Kxc2 cxd4 29.Rd5 Rc8+ 30.Kb1 1-0

toodles folks, time to do a bit of prep.

btw, my first round game can be seen on my Academy blog in a game replayer for those who want to see it but are too lazy to play through the game.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

George Trundle Memorial Round 1.

George Trundle Memorial

Mt Eden

For you non-antipodeans, the "George" is an annual IM round-robin event played at a comfortable pace with one round a day. The venue is the Auckland chess centre in Cromwell st and our accommodation is a pleasant three bedroom apartment at the base of Mt Eden, a major landmark in Auckland. From the top one can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea.

The tournament is expertly organised by Mike Steadman, a strong player himself, so the playing conditions are as they should be. Since there is only one game a day and just a short walk to the venue, I'll be blogging again. In my last tournament, the Gold Coast open, the schedule just did not permit any other activity. 

Luckily David Esmonde shouldered the burden, as well as running all the live transmission, and published photo's, games and short reports here.

The only improvement would be live transmission of the games but I'm sure that will happen in a future George. 

Round 1

I have played Paul frequently, but not lately. He was one of New Zealand's top players, and regular Olympiad team member, for decades. I had a decent score, but most of our games were very hard fought. Today Paul made things difficult for himself with 4...d6. Having already played f5 was not beneficial.

[Event "George Trundle Memorial"]
[Site "Auckland"]
[Date "2018.07.08"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Garbett, Paul"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2335"]
[BlackElo "2197"]
[ECO "A00u"]
[EventDate "2018.07.08"]

1.g3 e5 2.Bg2 f5 3.c4 Nf6 4.d4 d6 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 7.Nc3 c6
8.Nf3 Bd6 9.Bg5 Ke7 10.O-O-O Bc7 11.e4 Re8 12.Bh3 fxe4 13.Bxc8 Rxc8
14.Nxe4 Nd7 15.Rhe1 h6 16.Nxf6 Nxf6 17.Bd2 e4 18.Bc3 Re8 19.Nd2 Kf7
20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Nxe4 Re7 22.Nc5 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 b6 24.Nd3 Rd8 25.Nb4 Rd6
26.Kc2 a5 27.Nd3 b5 28.Re4 f5 29.Rh4 Bd8 30.Rf4 Bg5 31.Rxf5+ Ke6 32.
Re5+ 1-0

A good start but a long eight rounds to go. I am playing a talented young Melbournian, Chris Wallis today with black, so no walk in the park.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Mumbai closing ceremony rounds 8&9

Mumbai 2018

Seventeen year old Iranian GM Maghsoodloo Parham drew his last round game with Italian GM Alberto David to clinch first place. He has a very aggressive,  swashbuckling style which impressed everyone.

Alberto and GM Timor Gareyev finished second and third respectively on 7.5, followed by a whole bunch of players on 7 points. The full list can be viewed on 

Excellent articles and pictures of this event and other Indian tournaments can be viewed on the Chessbase India website.

Since there were lots of professional  journalists there I kept my amateur efforts to a minimum, but had to show you this cute video of the little kids dancing.

Vishvanathan Anand, the newly crowned World rapid champion was a special guest, just arriving back in India that day. He gave a simul before the ceremony and gave a short speech to cheering fans.

My own tournament ended as unspectacular as it started with two draws, one from a losing position, the other a winning one.

Round 8.

Since I was playing a sweetly smiling 13 year old girl I thought I'd confuse her with an offset opening, the Nimzowitch defence. Her play, however, was anything but sweet as she proceeded to rip my position to shreds. I only just escaped into a pawn down room ending, which, after twists and turns, I managed to draw by triple repetition, due to her time trouble.


Round 9

Another junior, this time an incessant sniffler. I finally managed to play decently for most of the game, but after reaching an easily winning, exchange up ending, I hesitated, and instead of just putting a rook on a1 and pushing my past a pawn, I overcomplicated the process, in the end blundering a rook to a knight fork. Luckily enough, I was so much ahead, that it was still drawn.

Not my finest result, but...swings and roundabouts.

At least the Masala dosa was waiting for me, and a new discovery. Avocado milkshakes! 😉

So my flight back home, via KL, leaves tonight. I have 12 hours to stuff myself with fine Malaysian cuisine before hitting Aussie beaches. 

Friday, 5 January 2018

Problem Solved! ChessBomb to the rescue. Mumbai Round 5,6,7.

I have been too lazy to input my games in the last few rounds. It started in round 5 when my opponent played until Mate. Also, the demonstration a few days ago delayed the round by a few hours and we got back very late...and to be honest I wasn't enthusiastic enough about demonstrating them to you.

Today I was motivated to at least find out how I only drew a position I felt was overwhelming. While looking for a computer evaluation without too much effort, on ChessBomb, I saw an "embed" button. Could this mean what I think it means? Oh, yes, yes it does. A simple copy&paste method of showing the games with little effort on both your part and mine 😀

The last few days I have been minimising the discomfort of getting to the tournament hall and back. and have taken UBER's or Rickshaws. This required taking a backpack and my tablet with me so I am able to bring you a few pictures of the tournament hall.

Oh yeh, there is also a great restaurant near the playing venue called Kailash Sarovar. I cannot remember anything better than the Pista (Pistachio) Milkshake I had there. The Palak Paneer and Garlic Naan were first class as well.

Back to the venue.

It is a nice hall, and all or most of the games are broadcast live. If there were just six inches more room between the boards, at least enough to fit the scoresheets...

There is ample space for parents outside the playing hall. Food, drinks, and chess stuff is for sale at very reasonable prices.

Parents are allowed in before the round starts but are then asked to leave. Good move India!

Now to the last few games.

Round 5

I played a talented young girl who had some good results. Am also not sure where she went wrong. By the time we got to the ending her position was difficult. I have noticed that a few of the Indian youngsters play until Mate. Maybe there is a coach around that advocates that.

Round 6

Quite a smooth game but I was perplexed by my opponent allowing the knight fork instead of just playing Rc1. Yes, not pretty but worse than giving an exchange for...what exactly?

Round 7

This, today's game,  was particularly annoying. 14.Nb5 gives white an excellent position but I started looking for the instant knockout blow instead of just building pressure. The little brat kept playing with his chocolate cookie packet, clicking his pen, etc, and most annoyingly, finding only moves not to lose immediately. 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Riots in Mumbai & round 4

Riots in Mumbai

Some games were delayed and others couldn't take place at all because traffic and public transport were not functional in some areas of the city. Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of the
One group of people celebrate this battle while another group oppose it. The history is quite interesting. Apparently, there is a call for some shops to be closed today but our area seems
quiet so far.

I have done little exploring so far except late morning walks around the neighbourhood. Here are a few more impressions for you.

These cows seem to be regulars outside a restaurant around the corner. The weird thing, about Cows, Pigs and Goats, is that they wander around unescorted. They all seem to know where they are going and nobody bothers them. Traffic just moves around. Looks Bizarre.

There are all kinds of different dwellings n close proximity. Luxury apartments, to tents. These semi-detached dwellings caught my eye because they were the most colourful.

Just off the main road one finds quiet tree-lined avenues

The Maternity hospital could use a paint job. 

Round 4

Until now I have been doing ok with black but chose a suspect line of the Alekhine's defence, departing from my resolution to play classical chess in the hope of a quick game against a lower rated player so I don't have to sit on those kindergarten chairs for too long. Well, that part worked ok. it was a short game but now the result hoped for. My play was uninspired and rushed. 15....Na6 meets the demands of the position much better than Nd7 and then I tried to open the position with no space and uncoordinated pieces. My fidgety junior opponent took advantage with natural moves.

Five long rounds to go...   

[Event "Mumbai International GM Open"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2018.01.02"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Sarvesh, Kumar"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1877"]
[BlackElo "2370"]
[ECO "B04o"]
[EventDate "2017.12.30"]

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 Bg7 7.Ng5 d5 8.a4
h6 9.a5 Nc4 10.Nf3 b5 11.Nc3 c6 12.Bxc4 bxc4 13.O-O Bg4 14.b3 cxb3
15.cxb3 Nd7 16.b4 O-O 17.h3 Bxf3 18.Qxf3 e6 19.Ba3 Qh4 20.Qd3 Kh7 21.
f4 f6 22.b5 Rfc8 23.Be7 Re8 24.Bd6 Rec8 25.Rab1 c5 26.b6 axb6 27.axb6
cxd4 28.b7 dxc3 29.bxa8=Q Rxa8 30.Rb7 Nf8 31.exf6 1-0

update!! A report just came in that some shops are closing in our area. If you don't hear from me again, its been fun :=)

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year from Mumbai, rounds 1&2&3.


I was having a little whine about morning rounds in Bhopal as we were leaving for the airport, for our flight to Mumbai, and Suat Atilik said to me "stop complaining, everything here was wonderful, in a few days you will miss it. Bhopal Bhopal" I laughed it off as just another one of his crazy statements. (a disturbing number of which turn out to be correct)

Within 48 hours I had to swallow my laughter as he turned out to be correct. This tournament is much stronger, has only one game per day and all the games start in the afternoon. Also, the hotel is more modern, shower instead of a bucket. The flipside is that the venue requires transport, in an old bus, through the traffic in Mumbai. While this is regular, the return journey requires waiting around until enough players have finished to fill it. This chews up several hours every day.

The worst is the venue. After the spacious, airy, hall in Bhopal, we are playing in the 3rd basement level of a prestigious, basically a converted carpark. The air is stuffy and anyone with a mild case of claustrophobia can suffer some anxiety. Am such a person.

The worst part is the seating arrangements. The boards are so close together that the scoresheets don't fit between the boards so the inventive ones fold them in half and others have them on their lap. The chairs are tiny and there is little room under the low table to put one's legs. This somehow escaped someones attention of an otherwise well-organised event, but since all the wiring for the DGT boards is in place, it is impossible to do anything now. 

For next year a much larger venue has been booked, hopefully above ground. Nothing to do now but try to survive another six rounds without any more disasters like in round 1. 

Ville Parle

Is the name of the suburb, next to the airport, where our hotel, the Hotel Avion is located. The picture below is the only example of two L spelling I could find. The other spelling has been a constant source of amusement for me. Sorry Jackie, Hughston, but small things amuse small minds :-)

The local railway station. 

On many street corners, various people are honoured. Often not translated into English unfortunately.

Tuk-tuks crossing in random directions. Traffic lights and zebra crossings are largely decorational in most of India.

A view from the rail overpass. Fruit here is widely available but with Australian prices. 

Round 1. 

I really lost it before this game even started when I saw the seating conditions. Things got worse when the first leg cramps arrived and I had to basically play standing up. Still nothing serious until move 14. My plan was to go back to f3 (14.Nf3) and force through d4&e5. Suddenly I thought, why not just take the pawn back first. Two moves later white is probably just lost. 

[Event "Mumbai International GM Open"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2017.12.30"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Balkishan, A"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2370"]
[BlackElo "2043"]
[ECO "A16"]
[EventDate "2017.12.30"]

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 b6 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.O-O O-O 7.Bc2 Re8 8.
a3 Nd4 9.b4 Bf8 10.d3 a5 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Ne2 axb4 13.Nxd4 bxa3 14.Nb5
c6 15.Nxa3 d5 16.exd5 Bd6 17.d4 cxd5 18.cxd5 Qe7 19.Qf3 Bg4 20.Qb3
Be2 21.Re1 Ng4 22.g3 Qf6 23.Be3 Rxe3 24.Qxe3 Nxe3 25.Rxe2 Nxc2 0-1

Round 2

I had two choices, try to calm down or spit the dummy and go home. Any other tournament, where the hosts had not previously displayed such hospitality, and I would have left before the first round had even started. Here, where chessplayers are treated so well, I decided on the former option. 

One old friend (who I shall not name publicly, came to the rescue with some good Indian Whisky. I was able to win my first game since round 6 in Bhopal. I cannot be too proud of this achievement though as my opponent was very cooperative. 

[Event "Mumbai International GM Open"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2017.12.31"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Nikhil, Magizhnan"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2017"]
[BlackElo "2370"]
[ECO "A01"]
[EventDate "2018.01.30"]

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 Nf6 4.c4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.e4 d6 7.d3 O-O 8.Nge2
a5 9.h3 Nd7 10.Nd5 Nc5 11.Qd2 f5 12.f3 Be6 13.Ba3 Rf7 14.Bxc5 dxc5
15.O-O-O Nd4 16.Ndc3 c6 17.Nxd4 cxd4 18.Nb1 b5 19.c5 b4 20.Kb2 a4 21.
Qxb4 axb3 22.a3 Rfa7 23.g4 Ra4 24.Qd2 f4 25.h4 Qe7 26.Ka1 Qxc5 27.Qb2
Rxa3+ 28.Nxa3 Rxa3+ 29.Kb1 Ra2 30.Rh2 Rxb2+ 31.Rxb2 Bf8 32.Rc1 Qb5
33.Rh2 Bb4 34.h5 Bc3 35.hxg6 hxg6 36.Rh6 Qa4 0-1

Round 3

I am not exactly sure what is happening with my white play. The natural 10.h3 just gives white a nice advantage. Instead, after 14.d5 white is just lost. 15...c6 and all my queenside will just fall apart. I cannot even see a way to confuse the issue. Instead, my opponent tried to mate me and didn't quite succeed. Maybe 1.a3?

[Event "Mumbai International GM Open"]
[Site "Mumbai"]
[Date "2018.01.01"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Sudarshan, Bhat"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C47c"]
[EventDate "2017.12.30"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Be2 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.O-O Be7 7.Bb5 Nxc3
8.bxc3 Qd6 9.Re1 Bg4 10.a4 Qf6 11.d4 O-O 12.Bxc6 Qxc6 13.Qd3 f6 14.d5
Qd7 15.c4 Bc5 16.Ba3 Bxa3 17.Qxa3 Qf5 18.Nh4 Qh5 19.Qg3 g5 20.h3 Bd7
21.Nf3 Rf7 22.Nd2 Rg7 23.a5 Rf8 24.c5 Qf7 25.Qb3 b6 26.axb6 axb6 27.
cxb6 cxb6 28.Ra7 Qh5 29.Nf1 g4 30.Ng3 Qg5 31.hxg4 Qxg4 32.Qxb6 h5 33.
Re4 Qd1+ 34.Kh2 Qxd5 35.Rh4 Qd2 36.Qb3+ Kh7 37.Nxh5 Qg5 38.g3 1-0

Another day another game. The only place with room is board 1 on the stage but that is still many wins away...