To bring things up to date, and because for a change I won a chess tournament, I am writing about my most recent event and will wrap up the LCC, Baden-Baden, and Gibraltar soon. I garnered a lot of enjoyment and chess education in weekend tournaments, and it is sad to now see few interesting events of this type in England. Fortunately the scene is much more vibrant in Ireland and they are very welcoming to English players, so I was happy to make my second visit to Bunratty for their event.
Although the tournament has a big social side ( one of my opponents almost fell off his chair during our game, and needless to say it wasn’t due to shock at my move) the chess is quite serious, and due to the magic of sensitive boards rather than trying to decipher my Guinness stained scoresheets evidence of my play remains. I have made a few comments to my first 5 games (round 6 was a bit brief!)
In round 1 I was happy to adjourn to the bar with a point on the board fairly quickly, admittedly more due to luck than judgement.
[pgn initialply=15 height=350]
[Event "Bunratty Masters op 20th"]
[Site "Bunratty"]
[Date "2013.03.01"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Thee, Bernd"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D30"]
[WhiteElo "2727"]
[BlackElo "2096"]
[Annotator "Mickey"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2013.03.01"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "6"]
[EventCountry "IRL"]
[Source "Chessbase"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.08"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 c5 5. Bg2 cxd4 6. cxd5 Qxd5 7. O-O Bc5 8. b4
Bb6 ({I had given up a pawn for what I fondly imagined was a dangerous
initiative but after} 8… Bxb4 9. Nxd4 Qa5 {it doesn’t look very convincing.
Ironically the ‘safe’ option of rejecting the pawn allows me to get very
active.}) 9. Bb2 Qd6 ({Now would have been a good moment to get the king to
safety with} 9… O-O {after this all goes smoothly for me.}) 10. a4 Qxb4 11.
Ba3 Qa5 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. Nc4 Qh5 14. Nxb6 axb6 15. Nxd4 Bd7 16. Nxc6 bxc6 17.
Qd6 O-O-O 18. Rfc1 Nd5 19. Rxc6+ Bxc6 20. Qxc6+ Kb8 21. Rb1 Ka7 22. Rxb6 1-0
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The next morning game with Mark Orr I have annotated in a little more detail, his rook ran into trouble in an unusual manner.
[pgn initialply=40 height=350]
[Event "Bunratty Masters op 20th"]
[Site "Bunratty"]
[Date "2013.03.02"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Orr, Mark JL"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B31"]
[WhiteElo "2240"]
[BlackElo "2727"]
[Annotator "Mickey"]
[PlyCount "70"]
[EventDate "2013.03.01"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "6"]
[EventCountry "IRL"]
[Source "Chessbase"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.08"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. O-O Nf6 7. Nbd2 O-O 8.
Rb1 (8. e5 {was another option.}) 8… d6 9. Re1 e5 10. Nc4 h6 11. Bd2 a5 ({I
regarded this as a standard measure to prevent White’s queenside play but as
the pawn proves rather vulnerable here} 11… Be6 12. Ba5 Qe7 {was a good
alternative.}) 12. a4 Nh5 (12… Be6 {was still possible}) 13. Bc3 Nf4 14. Qd2
Bg4 15. Bxa5 ({I thought it was better to play} 15. Re3 {waiting for Black to
show his hand before grabbing the bait.}) 15… Qe7 16. Re3 d5 {I was
initially more focused on f5 ideas but this is more effective as White is
forced to cede me a proud centre.} 17. exd5 ({Not} 17. Nb6 d4) 17… Bxf3 18.
Rxf3 cxd5 19. Ne3 (19. Nb6 Ra6 20. Rxf4 exf4 21. Nxd5 Qd7 22. c4 {is no fun
for White.}) 19… Qd7 ({It was better to put the queen where it can eye the
rook on f3 especially as} 19… Qb7 20. b4 Rxa5 {would be a happy way for the
game to proceed.}) 20. b3 f5 21. Nd1 ({The knight retreat is wrong, White
should play} 21. Bb6 {when he can cement the bishop with a5.}) ({I was
daydreaming about} 21. Qe1 g5 {which looked quite visual.}) 21… Qc6 22. Qe1
d4 23. Nb2 (23. Rg3 h5 24. h4 Bf6 25. Bd2 Bxh4 26. Bxf4 {was the last hope.})
23… Nxg2 24. Kxg2 g5 {A rather unusual position, White’s rook is living on
borrowed time due to the potent pin and he soon goes under.} 25. Nc4 (25. Kg3
g4 {is no better.}) 25… g4 26. Qe2 gxf3+ 27. Qxf3 e4 28. dxe4 fxe4 29. Qg4
e3+ 30. f3 Rf6 31. Qe4 ({I had managed to work out that} 31. Ne5 Qe8 32. Bc7
Ra7 {is the end.}) 31… Qxe4 32. fxe4 Rf2+ 33. Kh3 Rxc2 34. Bc7 e2 35. Rg1 Kh7
0-1

[/pgn]

Round 3 I was lucky again as I gambled in an unpromising ending and got rewarded for it.
[pgn initialply=68 height=350]
[Event "Bunratty Masters op 20th"]
[Site "Bunratty"]
[Date "2013.03.02"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Pein, Malcolm"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E06"]
[WhiteElo "2727"]
[BlackElo "2378"]
[Annotator "Mickey"]
[PlyCount "105"]
[EventDate "2013.03.01"]
[EventRounds "6"]
[EventCountry "IRL"]
[Source "Chessbase"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.08"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Bf4 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. O-O
Nc6 9. Nbd2 Qe7 10. Nb3 Bb6 11. Ne5 Nxe5 12. Bxe5 Ng4 13. Bc3 dxc4 14. Nd2 Rd8
15. e3 Nf6 16. Qc2 Nd5 17. Nxc4 Bc7 18. Be5 b5 19. Bxc7 Qxc7 20. Na3 Qb6 21.
Rfc1 Bb7 22. Qc5 Qxc5 23. Rxc5 a6 24. Rac1 Rd7 25. Nc2 Kf8 26. Nd4 Nb4 27. Rd1
Bxg2 28. Kxg2 Rd5 29. Rxd5 Nxd5 30. Rc1 e5 31. Nf3 f6 32. Nd2 Nb4 33. Rc7 Nxa2
34. Ne4 Nb4 35. g4 (35. Nc5 Re8 36. Ra7 Re7 37. Ra8+ {with a draw would have
been a logical conclusion to the game, but sometimes in order to win weekend
tournaments you have to become a little more inventive.}) 35… Nd5 ({
Fortunately for me Malcolm goes on the defensive, White is struggling to draw
after} 35… Nd3 {I was intending} 36. g5 {but if Black plays simply} fxg5 37.
Nxg5 Nxb2 38. Ne6+ Kg8 39. Rxg7+ Kh8 40. Rb7 Nc4 {I would have been regretting
my speculative 35th move.}) 36. Rd7 Nb6 37. Rb7 Nc4 38. b4 Rd8 ({I thought I
had some practical chances after} 38… a5 39. bxa5 Rxa5 40. h4 {now Black’s
position gets very tricky especially with little time remaining.}) 39. Ra7 Rd3
40. h4 Rb3 41. Nc5 Rxb4 42. Ne6+ Ke8 43. Nxg7+ Kd8 44. Ne6+ Kc8 45. Rxh7 Rb2
46. h5 Nxe3+ 47. Kf3 Nxg4 (47… Nd1 48. Rc7+ Kb8 49. h6 {doesn’t help.}) 48.
Kxg4 Rxf2 49. Rc7+ Kb8 50. h6 Rh2 51. h7 b4 52. Rf7 a5 53. Nc5 1-0

[/pgn]
In the stamina sapping third game on Saturday I managed to avoid major errors, which is often good enough at that stage.
[pgn initialply=41 height=350]
[Event "Bunratty Masters op 20th"]
[Site "Bunratty"]
[Date "2013.03.02"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Rendle, Thomas"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C74"]
[WhiteElo "2374"]
[BlackElo "2727"]
[Annotator "Mickey"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2013.03.01"]
[EventRounds "6"]
[EventCountry "IRL"]
[Source "Chessbase"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.08"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Qe2 Bd7 7. O-O g6 8. d4
Bg7 9. Bxc6 Bxc6 10. dxe5 Nxe4 11. exd6 (11. Nd4 {looks more challenging.})
11… O-O 12. dxc7 Qxc7 {This is actually a theoretical position but wirth the
White rook on e1 instead of the queen on e2. The difference is obviously
substantially in Black’s favour as the heavy pieces can be harassed by Bb5 in
some lines.} 13. Na3 Rfe8 14. Be3 b5 15. Rfe1 Bb7 16. Nc2 Nd6 17. Nd2 (17. a4 {
looking to swap some pawns looks more sensible.}) 17… Nf5 18. Qg4 h5 19. Qh3
Bf6 20. Nd4 Nxe3 21. Rxe3 Bg5 ({I couldn’t decide between this and} 21… Bxd4
22. cxd4 Qc2) 22. Rxe8+ Rxe8 23. Nf1 ({For some reason I had completely
overlooked} 23. Qd3 {followed by N2f3 perhaps my opponent made the same error.}
) 23… Bf6 24. Qd3 (24. a3 $5) 24… b4 {After this leaving 2 weak pawns on
the queenside there are a lot of targets in White’s position and practically
it is hard to hold.} 25. Ne3 bxc3 26. bxc3 Qf4 27. Nc4 h4 28. g3 Qc7 29. Ne3
hxg3 30. hxg3 Qd7 31. Kf1 Bg5 32. Re1 Qh3+ 33. Ke2 Qg2 34. Kd1 Qxf2 35. Nec2
Be4 36. Rxe4 Rxe4 {White resigned he could have tried} 37. Nf3 {but I had seen
the best response} Re3 38. Nxe3 Qxf3+ 39. Kd2 Qf2+ 0-1

[/pgn]
On Sunday I achieved a more promising moves played to drinks consumed ratio as I scored a swift victory in the morning and halved out in the afternoon.
[pgn initialply=19 height=350]
[Event "Bunratty Masters op 20th"]
[Site "Bunratty"]
[Date "2013.03.03"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Aguera Naredo, Javier"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B07"]
[WhiteElo "2727"]
[BlackElo "2390"]
[Annotator "Mickey"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "2013.03.01"]
[EventRounds "6"]
[EventCountry "IRL"]
[Source "Chessbase"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.08"]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be3 c6 5. Qd2 Nbd7 6. Nf3 e5 {This looks very
risky.} 7. Bc4 b5 8. dxe5 dxe5 9. Bb3 Bb4 ({One interesting line goes} 9… h6
10. Bxf7+ Kxf7 11. Nxe5+ Kg7 12. Bxh6+) 10. Bh6 {Practically a good choice as
the king is stuck in the middle.} Nxe4 11. Qe3 Nd6 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 13. Qxe5+ ({
I was also tempted by} 13. Bg7) 13… Qe7 14. Bg7 Rg8 (14… Qxe5+ 15. Bxe5 O-O
{was the last hope.}) 15. O-O-O Qxe5 16. Bxe5 Nc4 17. Bxc4 bxc4 18. Ne4 Ke7 19.
c3 Ba5 20. Bf6+ Ke6 (20… Kf8 {would have prolonged the game}) 21. Rd6+ Kf5
22. Ng3+ {It’s mate next go.} 1-0

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Thanks to all involved with the event especially www.blackthornetransport.co.uk ,Gary O’Grady and Gerry Graham for their great efforts.