Tuesday, 28 July 2015

British Championship Update - Day Four

We'll begin today by considering the main British Championship. Paul, after drawing with a junior in round 1, found himself with a very similar pairing in the second round. Fortunately, this time the advantage of the white pieces meant he was able to steer the game into a favourable line where his opponent had six of his seven pawns on light squares, surrounding his own very pacified bishop. The position mas almost certainly objectively somewhat better for Paul, but was also the perfect type of slow manoeuvring position that one would wish to play against the majority of juniors. Sure enough, Paul slowly outplayed his opponent, leading to the win of material and what appeared to be a fairly smooth victory. Mark, on the other hand, fresh from his round 1 match against GM Glenn Flear, was today playing a much lower rated opponent. Mark chose the King's Indian defence against d4, but his opponent rather unsportingly choose all the safest continuations, exchanging queens and then attempting to simplify the position as much as possible. Despite what appeared to be Mark's best efforts, no progress was made against such stubborn defence and a draw was the logical result.

The tournament also had its first major upset, with IM Jack Rudd going down after blundering a queen for two pieces in a complicated middlegame position. Also worth mentioning the exploits of local player and Leamington League regular Andrew Paterson, who won his second game in a row and is now odds on for strong GM opposition in round 3 (I'm guessing it will be Mark Hebden, but I've never fully understood British pairing rules).

In the seniors event, Mike also found himself going from playing one of the strongest players in the event in round 1 to one of the weaker possibilities in round 2. He, however, had a much easier time of it as his opponent chose a particularly limp opening and Mike was better as black after not much more than a dozen moves. Some precise manoeuvring later and the full point was duly achieved. Bernard's game, by contrast, mas a much more confusing affair. He appeared to make a mistake with the move order in the opening, and found himself in a very ugly position, ultimately forced to give up a pawn for either negligible or no compensation. I left the board with hi facing the possibility of a long and grim defence, and returned a few minutes later to find that he had won. I am still none the wiser as to how such a swift turn around occurred.

For myself, I have one piece of bad and two pieces of good news to report. The bad is that my game in the morning was one of the most boring games of chess ever played, with after 20 moves only a pair of rooks left on the board with a completely symmetrical pawn structure. Not necessarily a bad result with black, but certainly not worth the tournament entry fee to play games like that.The first piece of good news, although it does not directly involve me, is that the massive tournament favourite and 2490 rated Hungarian GM (highest rated in the tournament by 350 points) only managed a draw against a local junior in round 2. This pleased me in particular as I had beaten the same junior in the rapidplay only a few days before. The second thing to please me was that my afternoon game was much more enjoyable, with a crushing win in just 17 moves. The purists (or competent chess players) out there may well point out this says far more about how poorly my opponent played than about anything I did, but I achieve these things so rarely that I make no apologies to subjecting people to it.

Summary thus far:
Total score by Kenilworth players: 22.5/45

My personal performance:
Played: 15 Wins: 7
Losses: 6
Draws: 2
Well played endgames: 5
Atrocious blunders: 4

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