Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fourth FIDE Grand Prix

FIDE may be critised for many things but this tournament cannot be one of them. Even with top players as Carlsen and Adams pulling out we have a very hard fought and exciting tournament. With one round to go Aronian and Leko have a one point lead over the field and will face each other in the final round. I am unsure what would happen in a result of a tie for first but I believe it will have a major effect on whether Aronian or Leko choose to fight or just play safe.

Round 13 Pairings.

Ivanchuk Vassily-Kamsky Gata
Bacrot Etienne-Alekseev Evgeny
Svidler Peter-Grischuk Alexander
Gelfand Boris-Karjakin Sergey
Eljanov Pavel-Akopian Vladimir
Kasimdzhanov Rus.-Mamedyarov Shak.
Aronian Levon-Leko Peter

The games are due to start quite late NZ time around midnight so I imagine not many of us can follow them live.
Videos at www.chessvibes.com
Reports at www.chessbase.com
Official page http://nalchik2009.fide.com/

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oceania Zonal 20-26 June 2009

The Oceania Zonal held at the great location of the Gold Coast, is fast approaching. This is a great tournament to get master titles and the winner qualifies for the World Cup which is part of the World chess championship cycle. Each federation gets 1 player seeded into the tournament where all costs are covered for the tournament (atleast thats my understanding). IM Anthony Ker took this spot by winning the 2009 New Zealand closed championship at Queenstown, but by looking at the entries he has pulled out giving IM Paul Garbett the spot instead. I do notice that 3 other NZer's finished on the same score as Garbett at Queenstown so it must have been a close call.
Official site http://www.gardinerchess.com/oceaniazonal/oceaniazonal2009.htm

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sydney International Open

The Parramatta chess festival has come to a close with an exciting finish that left 4 players tied at the top on 7/9 Aus GM Johansen Darryl K Aus IM Xie George Wendi IND GM Kunte Abhijit and ENG GM Jones Gawain C B (although according to GM Ian Rogers here he is now living in NZ!).
GM Daryl Johansen was awarded the SIO title on tiebreak and the four players shared $10,000.
Full results here
Related links here
New Zealand's best performer was Hilton Bennett who I believe was the only NZ'er to have a positive performance.

Monday, April 13, 2009

North Island Championship

Congratulations to IM Russell Dive for winning the North Island Championship.

Russel Won his first 6 straight games beating his main rivals FM Bob Smith and Michael Steadman. Zhang was able to hold Dive to a draw in round 7 and in round 8 Goodhue was offered a half point present, ensuring first place.

The field had a reasonable 31 entries but was boosted by many strong players over 2000. 5 of the top 11 players in the country made it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

North Island Championship

Entries to date are

Neil Cruden
Simon Lyall
FM Bob Smith
WFM Viv Smith
Quentin Jones
Mike Steadman
Gary Judkins
Justin Davis
FM Stephen Lukey
Hans Gao
Bob Mitchell
Federico Roura
Alan Ansell
Mathew King
Ryan Lee
Winston Yao
Simon Ward
John McDonald
Hamish Shierlaw
Gavin Marner

It would also be a surprise not to see the top local Wellington players FM Croad, IM Dive, and current North Island champ IM Ker.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Auckland Weekender

The recent Auckland Weekender chess tournament was the first FIDE rated event if the year. Bob Smith won the event with 5/6. Full results are available here http://www.newzealandchess.co.nz/results.html.

Wanganui (Don't get me started about the so called "incorrect spelling") resident and the highest FIDE rated local plaer John McDonald has provided his game against the tournament winner. Italics are my additions.

Smith,R (2323) - McDonald,J (2077) [A43]Auckland Chess Weekender, 03.2009

1.d4 Nf6
Bob later said he was expecting
1...d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 g6 4.g3 b5

Here, Bob sank into deep thought for around 20 minutes, perhaps wondering how to protect d5. 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.c4 Bg7 7.0-0 d6
7...0-0 8.Nfd2 a6 9.Nc3 d6 10.a4 b4 11.Nce4 Nbd7 12.Ra2 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Nf6 14.Nxf6+ exf6 ½-½ Romanishin,O-Gipslis,A/Dresden 1998
8.a4 bxc4 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Nd2
So White has managed to hold the d5 pawn, but he isn't out of the woods just yet.
10...Ba6 11.Nb5 Nbd7 12.Nxc4 Nb6 13.Nca3 Qd7 14.Rb1 Rab8 15.b3 Rfc8 16.Be3

16... Qb7
White had 15mins to make 40 moves, Black had 25mins.
16...Bb7!? 17.Nxa7 White's d pawn is not possible to defend and Nxa7 is forced to keep the material balance.
17...Re8 18.N7b5 Nbxd5 19.Bd2 Black's extra center pawn should guarantee an advantage. 17.Nc3 Qa8
Here my plan was to try to play Bb7 at some point but I couldnt quite wangle it.
18.a5 Nbd7 19.Bh3 Rc7 20.Qd2
7mins left
20...Ne5 21.f3 Rcb7 22.Qa2 Rc7 23.Rfd1 h5 24.Qd2 Rcb7
24...h4 looks interesting
25.Qa2 Rb4 26.Nc2 R4b7 27.Na3 Ne8 28.Bd2 Rc7


John finished a credible equal second.