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.

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,

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.

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 »

Tags: ,