Bruce Watson vs Michael Steadman – White went much better picking up an exchange and getting into what looked like a winning endgame. However Black was able to hold the position and a draw was agreed.
Alphaeus Ang vs Simon Lyall – A couple of bad moves left Black worse off and White was able to easily convert. 1-0
Felix Xie vs Gordon Morrell – White lost a piece but managed to trap one of White’s rooks on the side of the board so the position was closer to even. Black was unable to find how to break out of the position and agreed on a draw.
Philli Park-Tamati vs Nathan Goodhue – White resigned after Black gained the upper hand. 1-0
Kenny Zhang vs Paul Macdonald – The first 14 movies followed a game by regular visitor to New Zealand IM Herman Van Riemsdijk. Black got the best of the game advancing Kingside pawns and creating a semi-open F-file. But Black dropepd a pawn and White was able to exchange pieces and lock up the position. Draw
Jordan Lewis vs Isabelle Ning – Default win for Black. 0-1
Clinton Wells vs Nigel Metge – Lots of exciting tactical tricks and swings in this game. In the endgame White was winning but missed the best lines and the game was drawn.
Allen Fan vs Lakshmi Ravi – Black resigned after White picked up a free rook. 1-0
Grant Burrows vs Alex Nagorski – Black was goign well and three pawns up when he unfortuntely allowed a mate. 1-0
Thomas Zheng vs Euan McDougall – White made some errors and lost a couple of pieces. 0-1
Tim Ha vs Arkadi Polyakevich – White was better most of the time but the game was mainly a steady series of swaps to a draw.
Erwin Koestanto vs Aaron Wang – White had a better game and got in a winning position. However he sacrificed a Queen thinking he would be able to quickly promote and get it back. Black however had a Queen move which had too many threats and was able to give up give up his queen for two pieces and a winning endgame. 0-1
Jeffrey Yu vs Daniel Runcan – White was a little better for most of the game but gave up a couple of pawns. Black was able to push though his passed a&b pawns for a win. 0-1
Andrew Michael vs Don Eade – Black left a pawn en-pris which allowed White to win it and then attack winning another. White was able to hold off the attack but once pieces had been swapped Black was still better. Black resigned with one piece trapped and due to be lost. 1-0
Virginia Milne vs Karl Holdo – White lost a couple of pieces. 0-1
Ajit Pendharkar vs Jack Chen – white sacrificed a piece for two pawns and an attack but once it faltered he was just a piece down. 0-1
Scott Treanor vs Stephen Peak – Black played a weak opening line and allowed White to quickly develop. White then found some good tactics, winning a pawn, then an exchange and finally another 2 pawns. 1-0
Hugh Gao vs Yolanda Chang – After looking good for most of the game Black made a mistake and lost a piece. 0-1
Upsets in A Grade round 5
Grant Burrows beat Alex Nagorski (594 point ratign difference) Aaron Wang beat Erwin Koestanto Kenny Zhang drew with Paul Macdonald Andrew Michael beat Don Eade Yolanda Chang beat Hugh Gao
Mike Steadman keeps his first place. Bruce Watson and Alphaeus Ang are have a point behind.
Upsets in B Grade Round 5
Daksh Bhatt beat John Liu ( 757 point rating difference ) Hunter Po’e-Tofaeono beat Eric Fan
A Sriram is still undefeated on 5 points. He is a point ahead of Neil Sonnekus, Wayne McDougall and Mike Steaner.
Michael Steadman vs Alphaeus Ang – White got a good position out of the opening with Black very cramped. White lost momentium for a few moves but managed to swap to a better position.Black tried a dogged defence but eventually White took all his pieces. 1-0
Bruce Watson vs Allen Fan – White found a tactic that left him two pawns up. He was able to quickly convert that to a passed pawn. 1-0
Jasmine Zhang vs John Duneas – Black did a Kingside pawn push and forced White to give up the exchange. But White was able to swap off the attacking pieces and pick up two pawns. Black was able to just manage a draw.
Nigel Metge vs Jordan Lewis – White aggressively pushed in the centre and nearly got in trouble with his King exposed. Black then picked up a piece and While White gained it back White was still down 2 pawns. The players agreed on a draw with a rook each and Black one pawn ahead. Draw
Simon Lyall vs Clinton Wells – Black played into a new opening (for him) and used a lot of time feeling his way. White got into a good position but then blundered 2 pieces and a pawn for a rook. White was lucky to find the one line that kept the position equal and then Black made a couple of mistakes due to time pressure. 1-0
Boyuan Zhang vs Felix Xie – White got off to a good start but made a series of small mistakes which allow Black to win. 0-1
Isabelle Ning vs Tim Ha – Black gave up a piece for an attack by opening up the G-file in front of the king. White was able to just get her pieces back to defend and after White’s Black’s was trapped white was able to smoothly win.
Paul Macdonald vs Grant Burrows – See Paul’s annotations in the game. Black cut short his tactical calculations and played a line that he hadn’t fully calculated. He resigned after losing a piece. 1-0
Gordon Morrell vs Jeffrey Yu – Black allowed a cute mate which White found. (see diagram) 1-0
Daniel Runcan vs Kenny Zhang – White pushed forward his Kingside pawns early but ended up with uncoordinated and cramped pieces while Black was able to win with a Queenside pawn push. 0-1
Euan McDougall vs Don Eade – Black allowed a tactic that gave White a couple of pieces. 1-0
Alex Nagorski vs Stephen Peak – Black got a several pieces trapped in his Queenside corner while White attacked the Kingside. 1-0
Aaron Wang vs Yolanda Chang – White got a Knight on the 6th and then picked up a pawn and a rook for it. Black resigned in the face of losing another piece or two. 1-0
Karl Holdo vs Andrew Michael – A few even game with chances for both players. Black got a winning endgame (Knight and two pawns vs Knight) but made a couple of mistakes and the game was drawn.
Lakshmi Ravi vs Ajit Pendharkar – Black pushed hard on the Queenside against White’s king which allowed White to get a mating attack on the Kingside. 1-0
Winston Weng vs Abraham Deng – After an even game Black miscalculated in the endgame and lost. 1-0
Upsets in A Grade round 4
Kenny Zhang beat Daniel Runcan Isabelle Ning beat Tim Ha Simon Lyall beat Clinton Wells
Michael Steadman leads the Grade on 4 points. Bruce Watson is 2nd on 3.5 while several players are on 3.
Upset in B Grade Round 4
Bevis Jiang beat John Liu Hunter Po’e-Tofaeono drew with Philbert Zhai
A Sriram and Neil Sonnekus lead on 4 points. Grayson Po’e-Tofaeono is 3rd on 3.5
Mostly easy wins due to the large rating difference. We will look at the upsets:
Joe Wang vs Alex Nagorski – White gave up two pieces for a rook and a pawn and a slightly better endgame. Black then made a couple of mistakes that him a full exchange an pawn down. Black was able to convert. 1-0
Don Eade vs Thomas Zheng – An even game but White missed a check at the end of a tactical sequence and Black was left a pawn ahead. 0-1
Upsets from A Grade round 1
Joe Wang beat Alex Nagorski Thomas Zheng beat Don Eade Karl Holdo drew with Gordon Morrell Yolanda Chang drew with Simon Lyall
B Grade Round 1
Upsets from B Grade Round 1
Eden Oshri beat Ying Wang Narasimha beat Alan Leach Grayson Po’e-Tofaeono beat Michael Ma John Liu beat Eric Fan
A Grade Round 2
Exactly zero draws this round but 3 upsets.
Thomas Zhen vs Paul Macdonald – Thomas (who has an upset win in round 1) picked up two pawn s using seperately tactics. He then swapped down to and endage with a single rook and several pawns each. He was then able to force though a win without too many problems. 1-0
Lakshmi Ravi vs Winston Weng – White got some pressure in the centre and then picked up material. 1-0
Abraham Deng vs Grant Burrows – White unwisely opposite-side castled and then allowed Black a couple of moves to build up an attack. 0-1
B Grade Round 2
Upsets for B Grade round 2
Charles Lu beat John Liu Bhatt Daksh beat Renier Lategan Narasimha Ravi beat Kelvin Xiao Eric Fan beat Uday Jain Bevis Jiang beat Ying Wang
A Grade Round 3
Many closer games as the player’s ratings got closer.
Lewis Jordan vs Alex Nagorski – Black allowed White to take the knight on f6 half-opening up the g-file. Black built up on the g-file while White opened up the Queen side. Just when it was getting interesting Black missed a mate-in-one. 1-0
Boyuan Zhang vs Erwin Koestanto – Just 14 moves long. Black won white’s Queen but then resigned two moves later in the face of White Queening/mating the next move. 1-0
Grant Burrows vs Euan McDougall – Black played into a dubious opening line and White had a great attack with piece after piece rolling over Black’s position. 1-0
After round 3 the only undefeated players were Alphaeus Ang and Mike Steadman. While Bruce Watson and John Duneas were in 3rd-equal on 2.5 points.
B Grade Round 3
Eight upsets this round. The major ones were:
Pranav Shenoy beat Renier Lategan Mantra Bhatt beat John McClory Grayson Po’e-Tofaeono beat Kelvin Xiao Hunter Po’e-Tofaeono beat Ying Wang Daksh Bhatt drew with Bobby Peoples A Sriram beat Mathew Steadman
After 3 rounds 3 players are on 3 points: Neil Sonnekus, Wayne McDougall and A Sriham.
Commentary for A grade by Nigel Metge. Commentary for B Grade by Simon Lyall
Michael – Hague, Ben 0-1
A decisive victory for Ben.
In response to Ben’s Sveshnikov Sicilian, Michael tries a less popular Maroczy bind setup. Ben, always well prepared reacts with early 8…f5, guaranteeing active play for his pieces and pressure on the f-file in return for weak d5 square and backward d6. With 13…Kh8 Ben leaves ChessBase14 but has clear equality. White makes some loosening moves 17.b4 /21.g3 and Black begins a complex attack on the K-side. But 21…Rag8 could have led to great difficulties if White had replied with the sharp 22.f3!
With 24.Qh1?, White buries his Q, never to be seen again. It was in fact not necessary to defend h2 as White K can escape to e2 and White still has compensation with his mobile Q-side majority.
After 30…,e4 cutting White’s position in two, Black is basically winning but care is still required. Stockfish finds an extraordinary defense in 37.Nxe4!,fxe4; 38.Rxe4 followed by Q to the centre, rating this as equal. White has only 2P for a piece but secure K and pressure against Black weak pawns.
With 40.f4? White loses patience and shoots his position! It’s fairly obvious that opening the dark diagonal to the K is not going to end well.
Daniel – Watson, Bruce 1-0
Bruce’s reliable Taimanov Sicilian produces a perfectly satisfactory position, only needing castling to complete his setup. Instead, 20.Qg4 prevents castling and asks the question ‘Where are you going Your Majesty?’ It turns out 18…Ke7 is insecure and probably Kf8 should be preferred. With 22.f4 White opens the f-file; still Black is not worse and with 22…Rcg8 Black could hold his K-side.
The critical position arises after 27.Ne3. White’s attack looks dangerous and indeed after 27…Bc6?, the sacrifice 28.Nd5!+ is decisive.
30…Qxc2 hastens the end but even the natural Qd6 blocking White’s d-pawn does not save the game: 31.Bh3 Rc7; 32. Rxc7 Qxc7; 33. Bxd7 Qxd7; 34. Qe4 and White recovers his piece with 2 pawns up.
White continues his attack accurately and wins a Q for R by move 40. Bruce could with good grace have resigned then.
Alphaeus – Garbett, Paul 0-1
Alphaeus plays his favourite Samisch Attack against Nimzo-Indian, but Paul is well prepared and strikes early in the Centre with 9…,d5! Exposing White’s lagging development and uncastled K. White sacrifices the exchange with 24.Rg5 but this hardly slows Black’s attack; better is 24.Bxf4 Nxf4 but Black is winning. Paul chooses to return the exchange & win 2 pawns with a neat manoeuvre Nd3-f4-e2-c3-a2. With 37…Qxb3 Black wins a piece and White could resign but Alphaeus likes to play to mate.
A beautiful game by Paul against a strong opponent.
Allen – Zhang, Jasmine 0-1
Jasmine equalizes readily enough against Allen’s quiet English Opening. But here careless 10…Nf6 (essential is 10…Nc7) allows the White d pawn to roll forward protected by Bg2. Already by 20.Qd2 Black is lost as there is no defense to White’s d6/Bh3. However, 20…,Qd7 collapses immediately as after the straightforward 21.Bxf6, White has a winning attack.
Nathan – Macdonald, Paul 1-0
plays the most aggressive line against Nathan’s English – a kind of
accelerated Dutch e5/f5/d6. The system is sound but needs careful
handling as already weak squares d5/f5 can be exacerbated by further
pawn moves. Indeed I would not play Paul’s 10…,g5?! before
completing development with Nbd7/Rad8 etc. Black’s 13…,b5? is
against the logic of the position: Black opens the Q-side where White
is stronger; essential is 13…,d5/Nc7 keeping things closed.
However, there is no need to drop a piece with 14…,Bd7?
The shortest loss in the A-grade this year.
A win by Ben Hague in the final round ensures him of first place of 7.5 points. Bruce Watson and Paul Garbeet are second equal on 6.
Abraham Deng vs Caroline Yan – Draw
The game quickly bogged down to a stuck position (see diagram) in which niether side could make progress.
Alex Nagorski vs Simon Lyall 1-0
Black game out of the opening a pawn down and with little compensation. After the players swapped down to a rook and pawn endgame Black gave up another pawn and was lost.
Don Eade vs Felix Xie 0-1
White sacrificed an exchange but got into problems grabbing an extra pawn with 28. Qxb6 (see diagram). Black was after to grab 2 pawns back and after some desperate moves by White failed he resigned.
Euan McDougall vs Tim Ha 0-1
White got a better pawn structure out of the opening and the players swapped down to just 2 rooks and 7 pawns each by move 25. White was able to slowly push his pawns forward (and win a couple of blacks pawns). Black resigned on move 72 as White was about to promote.
Alex Nagorski won the grade with 6.5 . Second was Felix Xie on 6.0. 3rd-equal were Simon Lyall, Jordan Lewis and Xinyang Liu.
A Quick summary of the top games:
Leader Isabelle Ning got a quick win against Karl Holdo.
Lakshmi Ravi also got a quick win against Stephen peak
Aaron Wang was in a completely lost position against Boyuan Zhang but somehow got a perpetual check to draw.
Anya Thurner and Svott Treanor took an early draw.
Upsets in Round 9
Grayson Po’e-Tofaeono beat Philbert Zhai Yolanda Chang beat Virginia Milne Eric Fan beat Mike Steiner Tyleah Po’e-Tofaeono beat John Liu Wayne Mcdougall beat Andrew Michael
Winner of the C Grade was Isabelle Ning with 7.5 points. 2nd was Lakshmi Ravi on 7 points 3rd was Boyuan Zhang on 6.5 points.
Paul played his b3 Bb2 e4 start and the players quickly swapped a pawn and three pieces each in the centre. White then allowed black to pick up a pawn as the players swapped down to a rook each and several pawns. With 4 pawns to 3 (plus the rook each) White tried to hold but made a mistake and lost a second pawn.
Paul Garbett vs Allen Fan – Round 1 – 1-0
White managed to immobilise all of whites pieces by move 25 (see diagram). He then was able to convert to a material advantage and a passed pawn.
Euan McDougall vs Simon Lyall – Round 2 – 1-0
Black blew a pawn in the opening and then lost another. White then cramped his position with a pawn advance and picked up a piece. Even when White gave the piece back he had a won endgame and Black resigned.
Felix Xie vs Jordan Lewis – Round 3 – 0-1
White played the unused 1. e4 d5 2. Nc3 followed by 2.. dxe4 3 Nxe4 Nf3 4. Ng3. . Black responded by developing normally and then castling Queenside and push pawns against White’s King. White struggled with mates and other threats looming. Black found a nice sacrifice 25..Rxd3 (see diagram) and White quickly lost.
Simon Lyall vs Tim Ha – Round 5 – 1-0
After a fair standard start Black expose his Kingside and White was able to threaten it with a Queen a Night. However Black managed to hold and White could not make progress against a the king. Then Blacked exposed his position with 24…g5 and White was able to attack against d6 and h6 and overwhelm Blacks position. White then failed to find the best move several times but was eventually able to convert his two-pawn advantage.
Commentary for A grade by Nigel Metge. Commentary for B & C Grades by Simon Lyall
A Grade – Round 8
Watson, Bruce – Steadman, Michael ½-½
interesting game with action hidden beneath the surface.
Against Bruce’s favourite English Opening, Black adopts a sensible King’s Indian set-up. With 9…Bg4 Black leaves ChessBase 14 and provokes the weakening h3; if White avoids this then opening the e-file is an option for Black. White makes early progress with pawn advances on the Q-side and should double on the c-file with 19.Rc4! which also defends laterally against Black’s h4. Black’s counterplay on the K-side is slow to get going but is not to be underestimated.
A critical moment arises with 21.b5?! White should bring his N back into defense with a complex struggle ahead eg: 21.Nd2,h4; 22.gxh4,Qxh4; 23.Nf3,Qh6
With 24.f4?! White initiates a series of exchanges that reduce pressure but also rob White of prospects. After the game Bruce & I look at ways to maintain momentum such as 24.a5 and 24.Na5 but Black holds his own.
The players agree a draw in which White’s potential outside passed pawn is balanced by weak e- & d pawns.
Paul – Fan, Allen 0-1
White puts himself on the back foot straight out of the opening with the manoeuvre 8.Bb5/ Bxc6/ Ne5. Experience shows this just loses the 2B and the Ne5 cannot be maintained. At move 24, White misses an attack on c2 pawn; he had to choose between two ugly moves: 24.c3 or 24.dxc5 After a further weakening 28.b4?, Black plays well to force the sacrifice of an exchange and with it, White’s game.
Jasmine – Ang, Alphaeus 0-1
Jasmine skips her usual London System and plays 5.h3 against King’s Indian Defense; Caruana & Aronian popularized this line. However, her inexperience shows when Black attacks the center with a Benko-like 8…,b5. Regular White d4 players know it is dangerous to accept this sort of pawn; correct is 9.Nf3 In fact after 10…,Nxe4! Black is already winning. Black exchanges pieces to the endgame and White’s weak d5 pawn falls.
A default win in round 8 puts Ben Hague half a point ahead of Bruce Watson.
B Grade – Round 8
Jordan Lewis vs Euan McDougall – Draw
Black’s unusual 4..b6 quickly gets the game out of theory . After a hesitation to castle White launches into an aggressive king-side pawn push. Black manages to hold the position and it swaps to a same-colour bishop and pawn endgame. After a few moves the players settle for a draw.
Tim Ha vs Done Eade – Draw
A steady stream of swaps until the players agreed on a draw. However for White’s final move instead of 33. Nxe5 and offering a draw the following continuation was possible due to the bad positioning of the black bishop: 33.Rb3 Ba1 34.Ra3 Nc4 35.Rxa1 Nxe3+ 36.Kf2 Nc4 37.b5 a5 38.Ra4 Nb6 39.Rxa5 Rxa5 40.Nxa5
Felix Xie vs Alex Nagorski – 1-0
White plays the same Vienna Gambit that he played previously against Simon Lyall and Black initially plays correctly before miscalculation with 8..cxd4 (see diagram). Luckily for Black White misses the best continuation but he still comes out of the opening better. White is able to pick up a pawn and slowly edge forward in a rook and pawn endgame to win.
Simon Lyall vs Abraham Deng – Draw
A fairly sedate game. Players swapped down steadily and then repeated moves in an even position.
With his loss to Felix Xie Alex Nagorski only leads the grade by half a point with Felix in second.
C Grade – Round 8
Lakshmi Ravi vs Isabelle Ning – 0-1
The players opposite-side castle and pawn storm. White initially looks good but over-estimates the value of a pawn sacrifice and pawns block his attack. White gives up a piece to punch a hole in them which pays off when Black allows White’s Queen into her position to take several pieces. When the dust clears the material is close to even but White has a move of initiative. He misses 27 Rg5 though (see diagram). The difficult endgame is too much for Black who loses on time.
Karl Holdo vs Aaron Wang – Draw
A fairly unexciting game initially, White is better but fails to find the best continuations. Black blunders a piece on move 37 but then manages to win a piece back and the players stagger to a draw.
Boyuan Zhang vs Scott Treanor – 1-0
Black makes some slip-ups in the opening but White doesn’t immediately take advantage of them. He castles Queen-side and pushes his king-side pawns against Black’s King. Then with Black’s pieces on the Kingside he plays 16. Bh6 and Black is in trouble. A few mistakes later by Black and he is two pieces down.
Joe Wang vs Ajit Pendharkar – 1-0
White finds a nice tactic (see diagram) to win a pawn. He is then able to swap to a won endgame.
Stephen Peak vs Jacob Yuan 1-0
White gets a good attack but overlook the opportunity to take a piece. Black evens the position but then White resumes his attack and wins with a passed pawn.
C Grade – Round 8 upsets
Daksh Bahhat beat Philbert Zhai Grayson Po’e-Tofaeono beat Vincent Cai Joe Wang beat Ajit Pendharkar Hugh Gao beat Andrew Michael Anya Thurner beat Kenny Zhang Hannah Xu beat John McClory
Isabelle Ning leads on 6.5 ahead of Boyuan Zhang and Lakshmi Ravi on 6.
Commentary for A grade by Nigel Metge. Commentary for B & C Grades by Simon Lyall
A Grade Catchup Games
Garbett, Paul – Hague, Ben 0-1 (Round 5, Played 31-Jul-19)
Unusually, Paul tries a QP opening against Ben but the result is not a success. In a slightly unusual QGD, White goes for the win of a pawn on c6 at the cost of 2 tempi (6.Qa4+, 7.Ne5, 8.Nxc6) but then decides not to take, preferring 10.Bxf6?!,Qxf6; 11.e3 Black, with superior development and control over white squares takes the initiative. No doubt reluctantly, White permits Black to stop him castling, 14.g3?!,Bh3. White’s K is now in the centre and difficult to defend, although possible according to Stockfish. White’s 16.f4 is the fatal weakening move and after this Ben closes in on both wings. A fine victory by Ben but an uncharacteristic loss by Paul.
A Grade Round 7
A round of decisive games and in particular Ben Hague loses to Bruce Watson opening the competition for first place.
Bruce – Hague, Ben 1-0
Bruce’s usual English, Black plays a Reverse Dragon, surely one of
the most aggressive lines, recently favoured by Carlson & Caruana
with both colours! With the thematic exchange sac 14.Rxc3! White
increases his control of white squares. 15…,Bd7 is a little
mechanical; Black can maintain equality with 15…,Qd4 when White can
retreat 16.Nc4 or win back the exchange 16.Nxc6,Qxb2; 17.Nxe7+,Rxe7;
23.h4 White has a comfortable edge with his unassailable Nc4 and the
centre pawns ready to roll. It is difficult for Black to find any
active play; Ben tries but stumbles into a startling combination!
24…,Qh3? loses the Q leaving White in a winning endgame with 2
active pieces vs. passive R.
A good game by Bruce – Ben rarely loses!
Alphaeus – Macdonald, Paul 1-0
Against the Nimzo-Indian White plays the most aggressive 4.a3 / 6.f3 line aiming at supporting e4 and a K-side attack with Ng3 and Ra2-e2. Black reacts sensibly with d5/b6 and equal chances. However as White momentum builds Paul declines the chance to be active with …h5 and soon finds himself facing a hard-to-beat fork on d6. One more mistake, the exchange is lost, White penetrates the 7th with his rook and pawns fall.
Allen – Goodhue, Nathan 1-0
Nathan is a cautious player preferring solidity to risk. Here however he takes it too far. After an equal, almost symmetrical English opening Black declines several possibilities for active play, 8…d5 & 18…f5 With 26.Qd2 it becomes clear that White’s slow initiative has created play on both wings (a & h files) and Black is struggling to prevent invasion. An interesting game in which Black loses without making any obvious mistakes.
Michael – Garbett, Paul ½-½
In a Classical Sicilian, White avoids the main attacking lines 6.Bg5/Bc4 and plays respectable 6.g3. With 10.Qe2 Michael is evidently out-of-book; GM practice favours 10.Bg5/f4/h3. Paul simply completes his development and equalizes. It is not so easy for White to untangle his Na3 as Black has pressure on c4/c3/c2; White’s ‘Petrosian manoeuvre’ 18.Nab1 does not make a beautiful impression. Black’s initiative grows but with 25…d4 Paul characteristically exchanges Queens preferring a small advantage in a simplified middlegame to a potentially more promising 25…d5! Accurate play by White steers the game to an equal position and the players agree a draw.
Daniel -Zhang, Jasmine ½-½
Jasmine has to face her favourite London System which she does sensibly with a fianchetto setup. Daniel however shows his unfamiliarity with this opening with a pawn grab 6.Bxb8 /7.Qa4+ known to be bad. Black quickly develops an initiative sufficient for the pawn minus but with 17.0-0-0? White castles into a winning attack. By 24…,Rxc5, White faces insuperable difficulties. Passive defense by 25.Rb1 is best but he tries the interesting 25.Nf3? to which Black should retort brilliantly with 25…Rc3! Instead she plays 25…Rc2 which is still good and after 27.Kb1 a pretty win is 27…Re2! Instead 27…exf3? allows White to escape to a drawn ending.
A fine attack by Jasmine and Daniel is lucky to draw.
With just two rounds left Watson and Hague have a 1.5 point lead over the next three players. The champs seems to be a two horse race.
B Grade Catch-up Games
Simon Lyall vs Don Eade (from round 1)
White got sloppy in the opening and lost a pawn. There was a steady swap of material until the players were down to just a rook and bishop each. Black kept up the pressure and had several opportunities at winning but missed them. Both players made mistakes in time trouble with White managing to equalise and the players finally agreeing to a draw.
Xie, Felix – Lyall, Simon 0-1 (from round 6)
Commentary by Nigel Metge
Against the rare Vienna opening, Simon makes an early mistake 3…Nc6 and White’s centre pawns roll forward with a strong attack looming. Already by move 11 White could strike with Qe1 & opening the e-file. Black fights for equality and a critical position arises at move 22: White can sharpen play with two moves: h4! or Ng6. Missing this White drifts into an ending in which his N is inferior to Black’s well-placed B. Simon plays this part of the game efficiently and wins a game that looks like a loss earlier.
B Grade Round 7
Simon Lyall vs Caroline Yan – Draw
White gets a slightly better opening (although not as good as he could have) but missed 14. Qh5 in favour of the pawn-losing 14. f4? . Black however underestimates White’s attack against f7 and instead of the safe 18. ..O-O captures with 18..Nxe3. Luckily for her White misses the best continuation and settles for a draw.
Alex Nagorski vs Tim Ha 1-0
Black overlooks a zwischenzug and loses a piece in the opening. He resigns straight away.
Don Eade vs Jordan Lewis 0-1
White loses a critical central pawn after 24. d5 and completely exposes his position. He is unable to hold on as Black switches his attack from side to side and eventually wins a piece.
Euan McDougall vs Xinyang Liu 0-1
White gets in favorite f-pawn move in early with 1. e4 e6 2. f4!? . But a few moves later gets himself in trouble (see diagram) and loses a piece. Black quickly converts.
An easy win in round 7 stretches Nagorski’s lead to 2 points. Although several players have unplayed games he will be hard to catch.
C Grade Round 7
Arkadi Polyakevich vs Lakshmi Ravi 0-1
Black picks up a pawn with a mate threat and then overwhelms White. He finishes with a Classic Queen+Knight smothered mate.
Isabelle Ning vs Boyuan Zhang 1-0
Black gets his opening lines confused and loses a piece. White has few problems after that.
Ajit Penharkar vs Stephen Peak – Draw
After a confused opening the players took an early draw.
Scott Treanor vs Grant Burrows 1-0
Black goes for a tactical trick ( 15. dxc5 Bxh2+ ) but Whites spots it and wins a pawn. Imminent lose of more material convinces Black to give up.
Thomas Zhen vs Karl Holdo 0-1
Black destroys White with a very well coordinated attack.
Upsets in C Grade round 7
Mathew Steadman beat Andrew Michael Michael Ma beat Mike Steiner Yolanda Chang beat Wayne McDougall Anya Thurner beat Hugh Gao Alan Leech beat Uday Jain Ethan Liu beat Erica Hu
Ravi Lakshmi leads the grade on 6 points. Isabelle Ning is 2nd on 5.3 and 5 players are 3rd on 5.
Commentary for A grade by Nigel Metge. B & C Grades by Simon Lyall
A Grade – Round 5
Mike Steadman vs Paul Macdonald 1-0
Paul plays the Scandinavian against Michael, perhaps not the best choice against an attacking player since White has active development. An error in calculation 14…,Nbd7? costs Black a pawn. An interesting moment arises after the aggressive 25.f4?! Stockfish recommends the remarkable 25…h5! & after 26.h4, Rb3 has counterplay. After 25…,d5 White achieves his idea of f5xe6 and Black loses another pawn and finally another.
A Grade Round 6
Paul – Watson, Bruce ½-½
Paul tries a less common line in Sicilian Taimainov, 8.Nxc6 and 12.e5 which can lead to sharp play. Bruce’s 14…,Bb7?! is inaccurate; better is 14…,Ba6 defending the b5 pawn. Paul in turn chooses not to play the sharp 15.Bf4 followed by Ne4 with a dangerous attack. Instead after 15.Qg4 the game simplifies and with accurate play White forces the draw.
Ben – Fan, Allen 1-0
Ben plays a very contemporary line 7.e5 against Pirc Defence as used by Carlson & Grischuk with excellent results. Allen is unfamiliar with this line and immediately makes a mistake 7…dxe5 opening the d file and then shifting his pieces to his Q-side, 10…Qa5 & 12…Nb6. White rapidly advances his h-pawn opening the h file and stopping Black castling; the end is near…Nice win by Ben!
Nathan – Ang, Alphaeus 1-0
A symmetrical Reti transposes into King’s Indian; 8.a3 is quiet and sound but with 9…b5 Black leaves ChessBase – preferred is 9…Bf5 or d5. White plays quietly and Black slowly grows his initiative culminating with an awkward pin on White Nd4. But with 24…Rc4 and sacrificing the exchange next move, Alphaeus over-reaches. 29…Bxd4? is a losing idea after 31.Qe3! The endgame has a neat surprise as White marches his K to h6 to deliver mate!
Paul – Gong, Daniel ½-½
After an unusual opening -we are out of ChessBase with 4…,f5!? White develops an advantage with 14.Nd5 when Black can choose to castle long or short…but 15…0-0 costs Black a pawn. White could play more accurately at several points and Black is fortunate to draw.
Jasmine – Steadman, Michael 0-1
Michael comes well prepared for White’s London System and equalizes early. Unnecessary pawn moves by White, 17.c3 /18.b4 allows Black to double on the d-file and win first one pawn, then another.
Ben Hague and Bruce Watson share the lead, but Ben has a game in hand.
B Grade Round 6
Caroline Yan vs Euan MacDougall – Black gets in his favorite f-pawn push and then pawn-storms White’s King (both are castled King-side). But after he misses 24..f3+ (see diagram) his attack falters and he walks into a fork. After that White’s just has to avoid blunders. 1-0
Xinyang Liu vs Don Eade – After a shaky opening White finds a nice tactic that wins a piece and it is all over. 1-0
Jordan Lewis vs Alex Nagorski – Black picked up a pawn and turned it into a won endgame. 0-1
Tim Ha vs Abraham Deng – Black got in an aggressive attack which White gave up an exchange to stop. After some swaps Black’s momentum faltered and white was able to use his bishop pair to harass Black who was running low on time. Both players avoided fatal errors and agreed a draw after positions repeated. Draw
Alex Nagorski’s win helps stretch out his lead. However there are still many unplayed games.
C Grade Round 6
Lakshmi Ravi vs Boyuan Zhang – Black was a little better for most of the middlegame after white game up two pieces for a rook and two pawns. However the position became very sharp and Black was using a lot of time analyzing the complicated positions see diagram). Eventually he made too many errors. 1-0
Arkadi Polyakevich vs Thomas Zheng – For most of the White nicely built up against black and pushed forward. Just at the endgame he made a slip and gave Black a chance but Black missed the correct moves. White was then quickly back in control. 1-0
Hugh Gao vs Aaron Wang – An even game until White underestimated and attack by Black and was quickly mated.
Upsets in C Grade round 6
Joseph Xin drew with Mike Steiner Mantra Bhatt beat Vincent Cai Joe wang beat Philli Park-Tamati Hannah Xu beat Ying Wang
With the loss by leader Boyuan Zhang there are now 3 leaders. Boyuan Zhang, Arkadi Polyakevich and Lakshmi Ravi lead on 5 points. Just behind them on 4.5 are Isabelle Ning and Aaron Wang.
Commentary for all grades in round 5 by Simon Lyall.
Paul Macdonald vs Jasmine Zhang (Round 2 catchup)
Paul played b3, Bb2 and castled Queen side while Jasmine castled King-side. A early exchange moved Black’s b-pawn to the c-file and gave her a a half-open file and a c-pawn to push against White’s king. However this quickly faltered and White was able to advance his Kingside pawns (temporarily giving up an exchange) and open Black’s position (see diagram). White’s attacking line however was not the best and a sacrificed piece down he opted for a perpetual check. Draw
Bruce Watson vs Jasmine Zhang – 18 moves of theory in the opening followed by some rapid exchanges left the players with just 2 pieces and 3 pawns each on move 31. White looked better but a quick swap of pawns left the position a draw.
Daniel Gong vs Nathan Goodhue – White looked better at the start but a huge exchange of pieces left the game drawish-looking with a Queen and 4 pawns each. After 30 moves of maneuvering the game still looked like a draw but Black made an error and placed his Queen on a square that was unable to defend his king. White was able to use the spare move to deliver a quick mate. 1-0
Bruce Watson leads on 4 points but Ben Hague and Paul Garbett both games a game in hand.
Abraham Deng vs Jordan Lewis – An even opening and early middle game. However a couple of moves by Black completely opened up his position and White was able to attack and chase his King with several pieces until he was a couple of pieces up. 1-0
Alex Nagorski vs Xinyang Liu – Black left his Kingside a little under-defended which White exploited by creating a hole in his Kingside pawns. Trying to get his pieces back into the game Black lost one and then in a difficult to hold position made another mistake that quickly resulted in mate. 1-0
Don Eade vs Euan McDougall – White got the better of some middle-game exchanges and came into the endgame with an extra pawn and two Bishops vs a Bishop and Knight. After a lot of maneuvering with Black on the back-foot White was able to get a breakthrough. 1-0
Alex Nagorski maintains the lead in B grade but many unplayed games make him catchable.
Boyuan Zhang vs Kenny Zhang – White built up a big attack against Black’s King (see diagram) which required accurate defense from Black. But Black made a couple of errors (possibly in time trouble) and was soon lost. 1-0
Aaron Wang vs Jeffrey Yu – White came out of the opening with the better position but the players quickly swapped everything down to a draw.
Ajit Pendharkar vs Lakshmi Ravi – White went a little wrong in the opening and left his pieces a little tangled while Black’s were better coordinated. Black kept up the pressure and as White tried to save a semi-trapped Knight he advanced his King into a nest of Black pieces and was checkmated. 0-1
Scott Treanor vs Thomas Zheng – White played a strange Bf4, h3, Bh2 maneuver early on, which Black helped justify by pushing his c-pawn and d-pawns. Some exchanges allowed Black to catch-up however. The players swapped to an even endgame but White made some miscalculations and was eventually two pawns down. 0-1
Joe Wang vs Arkadi Polyakevich – Black got a defended pawn to e3 which cramped White’s position and was then able to get a rook out to put pressure on White’s castled King (with help from a Queen on c7 and a pawn on f3 stopping a knight going there, See diagram). A mistake by White and Black was in and won. 0-1
Stephen Peak vs Virginia Milne – A late running game although only 33 moves long. Black allowed a tactic on move 11 (see diagram) and was lucky to be just a pawn down. Black threw everything into a kingside attack and while White was a pawn up in the endgame he settled for a draw.
Upsets in Round 5 – C Grade
Thomas Zheng beat Scott Treanor Anya Thurner drew with Andrew Michael Lakshmi Ravi beat Ajit Pendharkar Yolanda Chang beat Uday Jain
Boyuan Zhang stayed extended his lead to a full point. He is on 5/5 while Arkadi Polyakevich, Thomas Zheng and Lakshmi Ravi share 2nd on 4 points.
A Grade commentary by Nigel Metge , B and C grade commentary by Simon Lyall.
round of decisive results…and up-and-down play!
Paul – Watson, Bruce 0-1
Black equalizes easily against Paul’s quirky opening and with 9…f5 initiates an attack against White’s Kf1. The position appears threatening but Stockfish indicates chances are equal. Bruce plays the pretty 18…,Be3 but this is an error allowing White a decisive reversal of attack with 19.Qc3! Missing this opportunity is still not fatal for White but the superficially attractive 21.Bh5 meets 21…f3+! In this sharp position, one more error 23.Bxg4? costs the game.
Ben – Ang, Alphaeus 1-0
essays a difficult line of Pirc, maneuvering his Nf6 all the way from
his K-side to the unpromising b6 presumably anticipating White
castling long. There are few GM examples, but White scores high in
this line. Ben skips castling and advances his pawns 12.g4/13.f5
simply ripping open the K-side and center – Black’s position falls
An off-day for Alpaheus and a good attacking win by Ben.
Nathan – Steadman, Michael 1-0
plays a typical quiet Q-pawn opening and Black opens an attack front
16…,f5 With 18.Nd2 White wants to recapture on e4 with his N rather
than his Q…but this is a mistake allowing the tactical stroke
18…,Nf4+! White rushes his remaining rook to the K-side 20.Raf1 but
again this allows decisive 20…Nf4+!
By 24…,Nd4 Black still looks to have better chances but Stockfish rates chances as equal. Perhaps searching for a tactic that is not there, Black blunders by 29…Bh6?? And an interesting game ends suddenly.
Jasmine – Garbett, Paul ½-½
Against Jasmine’s usual London system, Paul equalizes easily enough with classical e6/d5/c5 setup; but it is not so easy to come up with a positive plan thereafter. Paul keeps White’s potential attack on K-side at bay but chooses not to advance his Q-side pawns en masse after 19…,Rfc8 followed by 20…a5. With the exchange of more material, especially the dark square Bs and Rs, a draw becomes very likely and both players repeat moves.
Caroline Yan vs Don Eade – White got off to a good start with some slow moves by Black. Playing 12. Bg5 appears to win at least a pawn but she played Be3 instead. White then swapped off her best pieces to leave Black in a dominant position. 0-1
Euan McDougall vs Alex Nagorski – White played an awful opening line but Black missed the best lines ( 7. ..Bxd4 wins a piece easily). However, Black was soon much better and had an overwhelming attack but missed the correct move on move 16 (see diagram). Instead, he made a couple of bad moves and ended up a piece down. From there White just needed to untangle himself. 1-0
Jordan Lewis vs Simon Lyall – White gave up a pawn for an attack but Black managed to avoid the traps (at the expense if using a lot of time). White made an error and gave up an exchange plus another pawn and then decided to resign after Black started to untangle. 0-1
Tim Ha vs Felix Xie – A slow game with long pawn chains and pieces squeezing through the gaps. It wasn’t till around move 40 that the first file was opened. White was a little better for most of the game but the pawn swaps allowed Black to quickly infiltrate, station a pawn on the 7th rank and then quickly win 3 pawns. 0-1
Felix Xie leads with 3 points and one game unplayed. Several other games are unplayed however.
Boyuan Zhang vs Arkadi Polyakevich – Players castle on opposite sides and started pawn pushes. However in his hast to push Black left a piece en prise. White pushed his attack but made a mistake and allowed Black to ended up with two outside passed pawns to compensate for his lost piece. However the endgame required Black to play almost perfectly and errors quickly accumulated and White was able to win. 1-0
Kenny Zhang vs Isabelle Ning – An long game with both players having chances. White got better in the opening but allowed Black to get an open file and lost two of his better pieces. Black then found a tactic that picked up a couple of pawns although she missed the best line (see diagram). The players swapped to an endgame with a rook each, opposite coloured bishops and Black with an extra pawn. Black took a rook swap and the game was drawn
Grant Burrows vs Ajit Pendharkar – White missed a tactic and lost a rook. 0-1
Andrew Michael vs Joe Wang – White had some pressure but was unable to time a breakthough move. Black then swapped off all except two pieces each and ended up a little better. Black was able to played the endgame better picking up two pawns and threatening to push though passed pawns. 0-1
Upsets in Round 4 of C Grade
Joe Wang beat Andrew Michael Boyuan Zhang beat Arkadi Polyakevich
Boyuan Zhang is now in the lead being the only play with 4 wins from 4 games. 2nd Place is Kenny Zhang with 3.5. No fewer than 10 players are on 3 points,