I hadn’t played for a while before the event, but had done some prep at home and played a few successful training games. The tournament wasn’t a disaster but was rather frustrating, as it seemed a long list of missed opportunities, but some of them weren’t easy to spot, at least for me! Read the rest of this entry »
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I made my Bundesliga debut this season in the March weekend. My teammates had been doing excellent work in my absence and we have a perfect record heading into the final weekend. On Sunday morning I played Luke McShane again, we seem to have played quite often recently despite his work commitments. It was another long and difficult game although this time I managed to convert my advantage albeit in rather unconvincing style. The lengthy encounter meant that although I avoided timetrouble at the board it was looming at the airport, but Luke sportingly arranged for me to hitch a lift with his team, some of the variations below were discussed on the journey. Read the rest of this entry »
The London Classic began with some exhibition games: the Pro Am event in the morning was won by Matthew Sadler and Daniel Lindner from Barclays. As it coincided with the very welcome BarcIaycard sponsorship deal with Chess in Schools and Communities this seemed appropriate. This tremendous achievement was a fitting reward for the work Malcolm Pein and others have done with the charity.
I was originally going to be playing with Edgar Davids Read the rest of this entry »
Until Bilbao I don’t think I had played a 4 player double round event in my life, but less than a week later I was starting a second.The traditional Univé tournament in Hoogoveen was very welcoming, a impressive mix of old and new, one nice touch was the traditional wooden old style demonstration boards in the tournament hall.
I was happy to claw back to a 50% score after an unimpressive start, some interesting variations remained in the shadows in my last round game. Read the rest of this entry »
The European Team Championship competition was held in a pleasant hotel in the centre of Warsaw, the organisers made a good job of airport transfers, providing reliable internet access and decent meals and playing conditions. The chess side of things was less smoothly run, it was hard to ascertain the point of metal detectors at the entrance of the playing hall when the players were reminded to turn off their mobile phones before the game. As usual zero tolerance created problems as the lifts became log jammed shortly before the games.
Luke McShane had taken time off work for the event so we had a good team out but things didn’t quite work for us. Just as at the last European Team, we took on Greece in round 2, unfortunately our performance isn’t improving as we lost by an even heavier 3-1 this time. History continued to repeat as the next day we, for no obvious reason other than the inadequacies of the pairing system, we faced the strongest other team on the score group, Russia. I butchered an easy win against Grischuk but the 2-2 draw still wasn’t bad and after a couple of wins we were in good shape heading into the free day.
Disappointingly we finished with 4 consecutive tied matches, I’ve mentioned some key moments in my own games from rounds 6, 7 and 9. The last round coincided with my birthday: this wasn’t a positive alignment last time this occured whilst on England duty, against Caruana at the Dresden Olympiad, as I lost a fine position. At least this time I eventually salvaged half a point, although my play was no more convincing.
Many thanks to all those who generously supported the team.