Posts Tagged Opens

Tricky Timing

At the London Classic I got chatting to Daniel Parmet who kindly mentioned that he might be able to set up some events if I played in the Chicago Open again. I decided to give it a go as it was a good excuse to follow up with a Florida visit. He put me in touch with Sevan Muradian at The North American Chess Association where I gave a couple of lectures, for which I was a bit more prepared this time, and a simul. NACA had not long before hosted the FIDE president, and when we drove back into the centre of Chicago that evening, we found the city gridlocked due to the NATO Summit with security at our hotel being especially tough as another President, Barack Obama by name was a fellow guest, this made things interesting!

I also gave a clock simul at Daniel’s local club, I haven’t played a serious event like this before so was interested to get the chance to play a 10 board event against solid opposition. I didn’t do a great job at concealing my unfamiliarity when after making a move on the first couple of boards I failed to press my clock! After this I got into the swing of things a bit, and ended up ahead on time in most games and managed a 10-0 sweep much to my surprise.
[pgn initialply=31 height=350]
[Event "DGCC Clock Simul G90+5inc"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.05.23"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Klug, Steffen"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D08"]
[WhiteElo "2738"]
[BlackElo "2131"]
[Annotator "Adams,Michael"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2012.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5 {Not a bad choice in a simul leading to complex positions.}
3. dxe5 d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. a3 Bg4 6. h3 {I played this hoping to avoid theory
which I was totally unfamiliar with. The database reveals that although it is
rarely essayed both Lasker and Marshall have given it an outing.} Bxf3 7. exf3
Nxe5 8. f4 {Black’s knight doesn’t have a comfortable retreat square.} Ng6 9.
Bd3 Nf6 $6 ({It was better to develop with tempo} 9… Bd6 $1 10. g3 Nf6 11.
O-O O-O) 10. O-O Be7 11. Re1 Nd7 ({There is not much choice as} 11… O-O 12.
f5 Nh8 {leaves the knight cornered.}) 12. g3 $6 ({Not a bad move preparing to
develop but I should have stranded the king in the middle with} 12. Qe2 $1 Nc5
{didn’t seem that clear but of course} 13. f5 {is huge for White there so this
was much stonger.}) 12… O-O 13. Nd2 Nc5 $6 (13… c5 {looks ugly but at
least stabilises the position.}) 14. Bf1 a5 ({This secures one knight, and}
14… Bf6 15. b4 Nd7 16. Ne4 {doesn’t look tempting.}) 15. f5 {However now his
colleague is exiled.} Nh8 16. Nb3 $1 {Trading Black’s best piece and gaining
time.} Nxb3 17. Qxb3 b6 ({Maybe} 17… Rb8 18. Bg2 c6 {should have been tried.
Now the light squared bishop dominates the board.}) 18. Bg2 Ra7 19. Bd2 Re8 (
19… c5 20. Bd5 {is also grim, but this doesn’t help.}) 20. Qb5 Kf8 (20… Rf8
{was relatively best}) 21. Bc6 f6 22. Re6 Nf7 23. Bf4 $1 ({A good move
preventing any activity, there are some fighting chances after} 23. Bxe8 Qxe8
24. Qxe8+ Kxe8 25. Rae1 c5 (25… Ne5 26. Rxe7+ Kxe7 27. f4) 26. Bf4 Rb7) 23…
a4 24. Bxe8 ({I thought I should avoid} 24. Rae1 Ra5 25. Bxe8 Rxb5 26. Bxb5 {
but in fact it wins even easier.}) 24… Qxe8 25. Qxe8+ Kxe8 26. Rae1 c5 27.
Rxb6 Kd7 $2 28. Bb8 $1 1-0 [/pgn]

Michael Adams & John FedorowiczDaniel has written a comprehensive report on the event which is well worth a look. Many thanks to Daniel Parmet for all his efforts.

Flushed with success from this and having got over jetlag I should have been in good shape at the Chicago Open but played horribly from start to finish. I’ve had a pretty good run in opens ELO and prize wise recently, but this wasn’t a happy outing. The high point of the event was submerging it with large beers afterwards with John Fedorowicz whom I hadn’t seen for way too long.

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Armageddon Cheesesteak

The World Open was the start of a busy chess period for me. It had been nice to get a break in our condo in Key Largo but with kitchen renovations, sunsets and cocktails, Chessbase didn’t get much of a look in!

Despite this, I managed quite well in the World Open winning a few decent games. However, Gata Kamsky convincingly beat me in our armageddon game to take the title. The game was 5 vs 3 minutes but with an additional 3 seconds delay, which was omitted in some reports. I think my colour choice of Black was okay but sadly if you play badly it doesn’t make much difference.

I hope they might use this same hotel again for the tournament, with good opportunities to sightsee at the Liberty Bell or the “Rocky” steps depending on your taste, and a great view of the 4th July celebrations. I can also recommend Pat’s King of Steaks for their Philly cheesesteak which sustained me through my very lengthy game with Vitali Golod in the seventh round.

For some reason my bank failed to credit my check to my account properly, thanks to Bill Goichberg for being very helpful reuniting me with my winnings.

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Scenes from the World Open and 4th July Celebrations in Philadelphia

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Ivanchuk rocks the Rock

Ivanchuk: Gibraltar 2011Apologies (once again!) for the long break between postings, I will endeavour to ensure at least one blog post a month from now on. My first tournament of the year was Gibraltar (I had won a couple of 4NCL games beforehand). The event was even more formidable with the usual very strong selection of female players. Brian Callaghan pulled another rabbit out of his hat last year by making Stuart Conquest tournament director, a move that worked very well. Simon Williams proved an excellent replacement in the commentary room.
Unfortunately first Tara, and later I, went down with the ’flu which took a bit of the fun out of proceedings. My best bit of preparation ever remains when I had a ‘flu shot before Wijk aan Zee and later learned Kasparov had taken the same precaution! It goes without saying – I was not as switched on this year! I don’t think it made too much difference to my final score: my reasonable start foundered against solid play by my later opponents. Congratulations to Nigel Short and Vasily Ivanchuk who were in a class of their own.

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Next Year: Sheffield

I have been very impressed with CJ de Mooi, who has put a tremendous amount of work into his stint as ECF president, driving up and down the country to attend prizegivings far and wide and also organising the  Staunton Memorial Dinner, generously sponsored by Darwin Strategic,  held at Simpsons on 8th September.  One of the results of his efforts is a considerable increase in budget for next year’s British Championships.

This year the general strength in the British seemed to be less than I remember, I don’t know if there are any plans to try and restrict the number of lower rated players or those who qualify from feeder events next time, it would probably be desirable for the tournament but perhaps not very fair to players who have supported the event in less promising periods. I remain somewhat baffled as to why players from non-UK federations, eg. Russia or Poland, are able to participate; nothing against them personally, but to me residency seems irrelevant and would recommend only allowing players from a qualifying federation or who are at least in the process of moving to one.

Pairing systems are not a great strong point of mine but it seemed to me that there was little or no effort to limit the difference in average opposition which would have made for a more level playing field. Swiss tournaments are inevitably unfair but this injustice should be minimised as much as possible.

A suggestion I have seen regarding the future of the event is to switch the championship to a 12 player all play all. Whilst this has some merit in boom times I think it would be pretty dire in less well financed years. Instead of changing the British format, I would prefer reviving an event that has been sorely missing for many years: an English championship. This would have the advantage that the new tournament would have flexibility over location, dates and format that the British would only ever be able to acquire with massive detrimental changes.

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Number Crunching

Lets return as promised to Open Tournament number 2, the European Individual Championship in Rijeka.  Here things defaulted back to my traditional open routine, as despite starting with 3.5/4 I was out of the money even before the last round began. This was a ridiculously strong event in relation to the prize fund, perhaps as several federation’s cover all the player’s expenses. The ECF doesn’t prioritize the event in the same way, so it isn’t a greatly appealing event for English players and this was the first time I had played. The event is one way to qualify for the World Cup but perhaps given the continually ‘evolving’ status of that event most players didn’t seem too interested in this preferring to throw the dice hoping for a big payday instead. In general the organisers did a decent job, but the bus transfers between the hotels and playing hall left a lot to be desired especially given the transfer fees they had received from the participants. The unseasonably cold weather with snow on some days didn’t add much to this aspect of the tournament either.

I did achieve one curiosity, my second round game reminded me of a game from the dim and distant past. John Emms achieved an impressively spectacular drop in computer evaluation (despite retaining a winning position) in his game with Fressinet back in the Istanbul Olympiad when he erred on his 30th move.

[pgn height=350 initialply=58] [Event "Istanbul olympiad (Men)"]
[Site "Istanbul"]
[Date "2000.11.09"]
[Round "12.4"]
[White "Emms, John M"]
[Black "Fressinet, Laurent"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B88"]
[WhiteElo "2527"]
[BlackElo "2536"]
[Annotator "Blog"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2000.10.28"]
[EventType "team"]
[EventRounds "14"]
[EventCountry "TUR"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2000.11.22"]
[WhiteTeam "England"]
[BlackTeam "France"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "ENG"]
[BlackTeamCountry "FRA"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. a4 Nc6 8. O-O
Be7 9. Be3 O-O 10. Kh1 Re8 11. Bb3 Bd7 12. f4 Rc8 13. f5 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 e5 15.
Be3 Bc6 16. Qd3 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. Bg5 Ng4 19. Qh3 Bxg5 20. Qxg4 Be3 21. f6
g6 22. Rf3 Bf4 23. Qh4 b4 24. Nd5 Bxd5 25. Bxd5 Rxc2 26. Raf1 h5 27. Rxf4 exf4
28. Qg5 Kh7 29. Bxf7 Rg8 30. h3 ({This move sends the digits diving like an
inverse national debt. The fun has been somewhat reduced by the increasingly
brutal precision of the machines. In the old days this move used to result in
a drop from roughly +22 to around +2.3, but now shortly afterward the metal
monster flashes up mate in 10 in next to no time. Here are a couple of lines:}
30. Bxg6+ Rxg6 31. Qxh5+ Kg8 32. Qxg6+ Kf8 33. Qg7+ Ke8 34. f7+ Kd7 35. f8=Q+
Kc6 36. Qxd8 f3 (36… Kb5 37. Qb7+ Ka4 38. Qa5+ Kxa5 39. Ra1#) 37. Qgc7+ Kb5
38. Qdd7+ Ka6 39. Qa4#) 30… Qf8 {
John went onto win the game after further adventures.} 31. Bxg8+ Qxg8 32. Rxf4
Qf7 33. e5 dxe5 34. Qxe5 b3 35. Rf1 Rd2 36. Rf3 Rd5 37. Qb8 Rf5 38. Qxb3 Qxf6
39. Rxf5 Qxf5 40. Qb7+ Kh6 41. Qb8 g5 42. Kh2 g4 43. hxg4 Qxg4 44. Qh8+ 1-0

I was intrigued by this and was always on the lookout for similar “achievements”, but was unaware my second round game had thrown up a similar curiosity until I saw Mig mention it in his Blog.

In the game after some cooperative play from my opponent, I had managed to remedy a fairly dodgy opening and put the boot in on the kingside, strangely again it is the 30th move that sends the numbers tumbling like BP’s share price. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chess in the US of A

I’ll post something about the European individual in Rijeka in a bit but will try and get a little more current with the Chicago Open. This was my first open event in the US since the New York Open in 1996.  Not much had changed, as just as in that event Loek van Wely won the tournament with 7.5/9 and I ended up in a tie for second with 7.
In the US you supply your own playing apparatus, which seems to confuse a lot of people, despite it being fairly unsubtly covered on the entry form with the phrase ‘bring your own set and board’. Another oddity is the ‘time delay’ time control, instead of adding time per move, the clock is ‘frozen’, in this case by 5 seconds per move, and only after this pause does your time begin to tick down again. It seems to be a sop to those who cannot manage their time properly when increments are not possible due to the tight playing schedule. At least that is the theory I think. In practise I did not get to experience this at all as my opponents were either equipmentally challenged or tardy (being punctual seems to almost guarantee using your own gear – see photo) or both and my aged DGT did not support this ground breaking innovation.   Read the rest of this entry »

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A Good Start to the Year

My blog seems to have been suffering from lethargy writer’s block but it is now up and running. I am recapping a few events going back to the start of the year, when by happy coincidence I managed to win a tournament. For a long time open tournaments were a rare feature in my schedule, but this year I have already taken part in three and have at least one more to go. In my infrequent appearances I seem to recall a history of good starts tailing away to insipid finishes often leaving me just short of the major prizes.Missed opportunities in rounds 6 and 7 of Gibraltar seemed part of a worryingly familiar dismal pattern, so it was a very pleasant surprise to stagger over the finish line in front. Gibraltar is by the way an excellent event with friendly organisation and very decent weather for the time of year and of course a chance to get up close and personal with the Barbary Macaques. I look forward to defending my title (sadly not something I can say often) next year.

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Chicago Open

Michael Adams will be playing in the Chicago Open at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel between May 27th – 31st.

Tournament homepage:  Chicago Open 2010

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