The tournament now has a clear leader with Jack Puccini winning his 5th straight game to be the only player on a perfect score. Jack has been playing a lot of high quality chess recently, and may well be the next Melbourne junior to break through the ranks and jump up to the 2300 level. I certainly hope he manages to. If he can hold things together in the second half of this tournament he'll certainly be making some decent gains from this tournament. He finds himself a point clear of 3 players: Malcolm Pyke, Paul Kovacevic and Marko Grabovac. A further half point behind these on 3.5 are Simon Schmidt and Roger McCart and then comes the group that I'm in.
There are meant to be some games published, but I can't seem to find them. Keep an eye on arbiter Kerry Stead's blog for some updates on this. For now, I'll nominate this game for a brilliancy prize award:
The winner of this game, Sarah Anton, is also playing at the other tournament that I'm competing in at Glen Eira Chess Club. This tournament I'm actually leading, though I am rated 200 points more than anyone else. Sarah had to miss some games through other commitments at the start of this event, which moves into round 4 out of 7 this Friday. We have 20 players entered which is a nice consolidation for us after our first event. The top 3 players will qualify for the end of year club championship which already has IM James Morris in the field, and $1000 to play for. While this event has stepped back a little, there will be a third qualifier starting in July which might be the best of the three.
Here are a couple of tactical moments from Friday.
Sarah Anton again! Playing white Sarah has just seen her opponent's bishop come to d3 hitting her rook. Taking advantage of black's central king position and the awkward pin of the Nc6, white played 15.Nd4!? the game continued 15..Bxf1 16.Rxf1 when the threats to c6 proved too much for black who decided to give his queen for the rook on f1.
But I wonder what would have happened after 16..Qd6? I'm not sure if Sarah had analysed this position, but one move that appeals to me is 17.Ne6 defending d5 because of the fork on c7, threatening g7 and preventing black's king from castling. It's really hard to find good moves for black!
Meanwhile, I had a nice finish to a game that caused me some headaches earlier on. My opponent, Jerzy Kryziak played Alekhine's Defence to which I grabbed some space, put my pieces on threatening squares and felt good about my position until Jerzy started finding ways to move his pieces around my centre. However, I managed to find a good finish in the following position.
Working on the basis that all checks and captures should be examined I came up with 25.Bxf5. This is a very annoying move to have to face and towards time pressure it isn't easy to defend. Probably the best move is 25..Re8, but that accepts that white has won a pawn and black's king is still under threat. Jerzy blundered with 25..g5? which loses quickly to 26.Ne6 Bxe6 27.Bxe6+ Rf7 A sad necessity.
I now finished with 28.Nf5 where 28..Qg6 loses to 29.Ne7+ winning the queen, or 28..Qf8 29.Qxg5+ will be mate shortly! When the tactics work chess is easy!
So I guess the main question is what would have happened if Jerzy had taken my bishop with 25..gxf5 leading to the position above? I had planned 26.Nxf5 Qg5 27.Ne7+ forcing black into an unfortunate discovered attack. 27..Kg7
28.Ne6+ which opens an attack on black's queen.
Glen Eira Chess Club is very enjoyable and no less competitive than other chess clubs, though perhaps not as deeply serious. I saw this blog by one of our members the earlier which I think is very good and I hope that the blog continues and am sure that Barnaby (and his talented son, Fergus) will improve because of it.