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,
Round 3 PGN by Ewen Green and Nigel Metge. Annotated by Nigel for A and B grades.
Commentary by Nigel Metge
round in which the higher rated players defeat the lower half in
different styles. Paul Garbett and Bruce Watson adopt the ‘Play for
two results (win or draw)’ approach- that is, avoiding
complications or risk of loss. Ben Hague and Michael Steadman use a
more vigorous approach, relying on their superior tactical sense in
Paul – Macdonald, Paul 1-0
After 13 moves of a French Def, Tarrasch var, a typical unbalanced position arises with White having a slight initiative. Paul Garbett has favoured this variation since the 70’s; I recall he beat me in NZ Championship 1985. Paul Macdonald weakens his K-side with 20…h6?!; subsequently the other Paul invades on the light squares. The superficially attractive 30…Ne4? allows a family fork to be set up by 32.Bb1! Paul G. converts with an attractive King net.
Bruce – Goodhue, Nathan 1-0
Bruce transposes from his English to Panov-Botvinnik Attack against Caro-Kann, a line which promises a slight but persistent edge for White. By move 24 an interesting and equal Q&B vs. Q&N ending arises. Nathan unwisely opens the position 26…f6? and the White Q dominates the Center. In answer to an annoying check White interposes his Q, 33.Qd4, confident he can win the resulting K&P ending…but he can’t -it’s a draw! The point being that White K cannot take g6 without going outside the square of the Black potential passed b-pawn. Black too miscalculates the possible ending and declines the exchange. Bruce now finds the correct plan of advancing his K-side pawns with 38.Kh4 while keeping B vs. N and wins cleanly.
Jasmine – Hague, Ben 0-1
The players follow a master game in the London System until Ben introduces a new, simple move 11…Nxd2 leaving White’s King in the center. The middlegame develops normally until Ben’s startling P-sac 23…e5!? The only trouble is it is not wholly sound…Black recovers his P but his K is exposed on the semi-open h-file and his Ng7 hemmed by White’s pawns e5/g3. White misses 30.Nh6+ maintaining a promising attack and further compromises her Q position with 32.Qh3? Sensing her advantage is disappearing she strikes out with an exchange sac 33.Rxh5 but this is simply unsound and Black catches her with a neat tactic 35…,Bf3 wins a piece.
Michael – Fan, Allen 1-0
King’s Indian Defence, both players vary from the pure classical
path with 6…Na6;7.g4
move 12 an unbalanced position is reached where it is hard to judge
who is better or the best way of continuing. For sure, Black’s
12…,f5? Is not the answer as it converts an equal position into a
losing one! Black’s K is hopelessly exposed and White castles long,
starting a winning attack. Black blunders a piece 22…Nbd3+
finishing this rather one-sided game early.
Only two games were played in B Grade. Felix Xie vs Jordan Lewis and Abraham Deng vs Euan McDougall were both postponed while Simon Lyall forfeited against Xinyang Liu.
Commentary by Nigel Metge and Simon Lyall
Alex Nagorski vs Don Eade – White had the opportunity of 6. dxe5 (see diagram) but went with the quieter Be2. The game was fairly quiet after that with White slightly better but no real progress as pieces were swapped off. However the final position is close to a win for Black with White’s piece and pawns badly placed (see diagram). However the players took a Draw – SL
From a fairly even Kings Indian Defense, interesting endgame transitions arise. White has a slight initiative and exchanges first Queens and later Rooks believing the endgames to be favourable…but they are not. In the final position the players agree a draw as time pressure looms but in fact Black has a win! – NM
Tim Ha vs Caroline Yan – Very passive play by both players and a quick draw. – SL
Both players are comfortable with a straightforward draw – NM
Alex Nagorski leads the Grade but several unplayed games makes the exact positions hard to tell.
Commentary by Simon Lyall
Isabelle Ning vs Grant Burrows – An even opening but white ended a little worse after she game up position for an open file and then swapped off Queens and rooks. The endgame was fairly equal and eventually drawn.
Arkadi Polyakevich vs Joseph Xin – A series of passive moves by Black allowed White to roll forward an attack and quickly win. 1-0
Kendrick Zhang vs Philli Park-Tamati – In the face of a strong attack against his King Black gets careless and forgets to defend against the mate-in-one. Although it appears in surprise White forgot the mate as well and settled for winning Black’s Queen. 1-0
Winston Weng vs Boyuan Zhang – White overworked some pieces and allowed Black to win 2 pawns via tactics. A few moves later White resigned after he was squeezed into a corner and about to lose a piece. 0-1
Jeffrey Yu vs Stephen Peak – White won a pawn in a sharp opening position (see diagram) but Black had compensation. Black lost that however and there was a long middle game with each player having two rooks and a (opposite coloured) bishop. White was in the better position with a passed pawn while Black tried to defend. White was eventually able to bring his King into the attack which was too much for Black to hold. 1-0
Upsets in Round 3 for C Grade
Tyleah Po’e-Tofaeono beat Wayne McDougall Hannah Xu drew with Virginia Milne Boyuan Zhang beat Winston Weng
Kendrick Zhang, Arkadi Polyakevich and Boyuan Zhang now lead C Grade on 3 points. 4 players are just behind on 2.5
Caroline Yan vs Alex Nagorski – White’s early c4 left her with some holes on her queenside that Black was able to pressure. Black quickly picked up two pawns from some exchanges and white resigned soon afterwards with little hope. 0-1
Don Eade vs Abraham Deng – White picked up a pawn with a tactic but this wasn’t decisive and black had some chances. Eventually Black got the pawn back and the players agreed a draw in a King and pawn endgame (which the computer likes Black). Draw
Xinyang Liu vs Felix Xie – In a French-Advance White played some incorrect moves which is dangerous since the white has little slack in their opening development. Black eased off the pressure however which allowed White to catch-up. White got good pressure in the centre and against the King while Black counted with pressure down the open C-file. Unfortunately White hung a piece and resigned next move. 0-1
Jordan Lewis vs Tim Ha – Both players seemed to get lost in the opening but white came out a little better. White picked up a pawn and then two more for a winning position. Black tried a desperate attack and managed to get a perpetual check after White missed winning moves several times. Draw
Felix Xie and Alex Nagorski are in the lead on two out of two.
Andrew Michael vs Kendrick Zhang – White got huge pressure with a pawn thrust against Black’s castled King. But after a couple of slow moves Black got a dangerous counter-attack on the other side of the board. After some missteps Black picked up some material and won. 0-1
Lakshmi Ravi vs Aaron Wang – Some dubious opening lines left Black a pawn up. Then White allowed a tactic and Black got a full piece up. 0-1
Mohammad Bashar vs Boyuan Zhang – White has a better started (see diagram) but Black got a good b7 bishop. After a sequence of swaps Black was two pawns up with mate threats and he managed to eventually convert. 0-1
Upsets in C Grade round 2:
Joseph Xin beat Wayne McDougall Jack Chen beat Mike Steiner Michael Malcolm beat Ying Wang Boyuan Zhang beat Mohammad Bashar Adam Macauley beat Sylvia McDougall Ethan Shen drew with Tony Yuan
There are still 8 players sharing first place on two points.
the 4 games played (Macdonald – Zhang is postponed) 3 were fairly
straightforward draws but poor Michael Steadman got minced in 25
moves by Alphaeus Ang.
Alphaeus – Steadman, Michael 1-0
often plays unorthodox opening lines looking for a ‘tactical mess’
to revel in. Here he pushes his luck too far mishandling the defense
to a sharp Samisch against his Nimzo-Indian 6…,d6 and 8…,f5?!
Alphaeus mounts an overwhelming attack and Black is reduced to almost
zugzwang after 25.g5
Goodhue, Nathan – Garbett, Paul ½-½
a Queen’s Gambit Declined White exchanges his Bg5 for Black’s Nf6
unusually early giving Black the 2Bs in return for free development.
Black allows White’s 11.e4 exchanging Black’s good B in return
for White’s IQP. White fights for the draw and ultimately succeeds
after Garbett eschews late middlegame complications.
Allen – Watson, Bruce ½-½
Starting as a Reti, then English, the opening transposes into a type of closed Catalan where Black accepts hanging pawns but equal chances. White simplifies to an equal ending but then embarks on a most unclear piece sacrifice to bring his rooks to the 6th & 7th ranks. Bruce defends calmly and could have brought home the point from the critical position after 29.Rxg7
correct 29…Raa2! Is easy to see but hard to calculate!
Black’s 29…c4? White has time to bring his rooks to the 7th
and hold the draw by perpetual check.
Ben – Gong, Daniel ½-½
The Advance Variation against the Caro-Kann can lead to great complications. Daniel reacts with 3…c5, a move introduced by Botvinnik against Tal in their return World Championship match 1961. But Tal did not play 4.Ne2…With 7.b4 a fight for control of e5/c5 begins. The next few moves are tense with many unseen possibilities but by 21.Qd4 the position is calm and heads for a draw.
After 2 rounds three players are in the lead on 1.5
Round 1 PGN by Nigel Metge, Alex Nagorski and Ewen Green
Commentary by Nigel Metge
Round 1 of ACC Championship A Grade saw tough battles on all boards.
Macdonald, Paul – Hague, Ben 0-1
Paul’s unusual take on Larsen’s opening (1.b3, 2.Bb2, 3.e4) gives Ben few problems in equalizing. White offers an interesting P sac, 16.Rfe1 teasing Black’s weak back rank and undeveloped Bc8. Confident in his ability and calculation Ben takes the P. White slips with an inaccurate exchange of his good Nd6 and Black keeps his extra pawn in a R&P ending. Both rooks are active and drawing chances are very high but persistent pressure and shortage of time provoke an error from White and Ben is rewarded for his calm defense. I note the times at move 16: 33 min remaining to White and 63min to Black; at move 38, 1min for White, 37min for Black
Zhang, Jasmine – Goodhue, Nathan ½-½
Jasmine plays her usual London system and with 12.f4, f5 both players adopt a double stonewall. Nathan opens and controls the a-file but did not extract value from it. Jasmine with h3-g4 attacks the K-side. Black now makes a significant error in 29…Kf7 allowing 30.h5! opening files and suddenly his King is in serious trouble. White develops a winning attack and wins an exchange but at a critical moment exchanges Qs with 39.Qf7+; instead 39.Qh2! looks like a win. A complex ending arises in which it is not clear if Black’s 2B & P can draw against White’s R&B. In fact, Stockfish reveals a subtle win for White at several points but after a long game both players are short of time and agree a draw after repeating several moves
Garbett, Paul – Fan, Allen 1-0
tries a new move 7…,c5 in the Pirc but this leads only to an early
exchange of Qs and a better endgame for White…not a great idea
against one of the country’s strongest players. Paul plays a
beautiful positional game 20.Nxf6 constricting Black’s development
while avoiding all risk. White wins a P but more important his K&B&R
advance on Black’s K choking it to death. Apart from one slip
31.R1d6 which allows equality, a fine win by Paul.
Watson, Bruce -Ang, Alphaeus 1-0
English opening soon transposes into Kings Indian Averbakh with White
retaining customary minimal advantage. Bruce incautiously allows
Black’s Queen to penetrate to h3 and Alphaeus wins a P with a nice
tactical finesse 24…Nxe4! Queens’ come off but the ending is not
so easy to win as Black’s B is constricted by d6-e5-f4 pawn chain.
Alphaeus hits upon a brilliant idea of sacrificing his R for White’s
N and creating 2 passed pawns supported by his B. It is a winning
concept, albeit maybe unnecessary, but exact execution is required.
First the win slips away 35…f2!, then the draw, 36.f2!
tough game for Alphaeus to lose but full marks to Bruce for
determined defense. Chess is a game of errors!
Steadman, Michael – Gong, Daniel ½-½
Daniel opens with 4…Bf5 variation in Kings Indian, favoured by Caruana. Michael counters with 5.g3,Ne4; 5.Qb3 and both players are on unfamiliar territory. Black equalizes and develops a grip on the c-file. Instead of patiently building on this he chooses simplification and penetration of White’s back ranks with 32…Qh3?!
The position is equal though and perhaps out of frustration Daniel makes a risky decision to create a passed a-pawn at the expense of allowing White a passed b-pawn 40…b4?! The position is complex and White misses or chooses not to create favourable complications with 4 Qs on the board 52.b6! & 54.e5! Black wisely steers the game to a draw with perpetual check.
A tough struggle in which both players had winning chances in different phases.
Felix Xei vs Euan McDougall – White was ahead from the opening and Black never really broke out of this position. Black dropped a pawn and White cruised from there. 1-0
Tim Ha vs Xinyang Liu – Passive play at the start by White gave black a better position but Black was unable to get enough ahead and White was able to hold a draw.
Jordan Lewis vs Caroline Yan – A Quick draw
Abraham Deng vs Alex Nagorski – White got got stuck with a slightly less room out of the opening and Black was able to pressure him until White’s exposed King was due to be mated. 0-1
Lyall vs Eade – Postponed
Yonggeum Song vs Andrew Michael – Black was looking better but White helped things with a Blonder. 0-1
Aaron Wang vs Lucas Xiao – Black miscalculated and lost of piece. 1-0
Erica Hu vs Mohamma Bashar – White was goign well but gave up two-pawns due to a miscalculation. Black quickly won with a passed-pawn. 0-1
Ajit Pendharkar vs Yolanda Chang – White found a tactic which won a piece and checkmated a few moves later. 1-0
Anya Thurner vs Virgina Milne – Black got here pieces tied up and then quickly lost material to a couple of tactics. 1-0
Scott Treanor vs Alan Leach – White was slightly better for most of the game but Black kept in touch and was able to force a draw.
Philbert Zhai vs Karl Holdo – Any early draw in an even position. Draw
Upsets in Round 1 for C Grade
Tykeah Po’e-Tofaeno beat Thomas Zheng Anya Thurner beat Virginia Milne Jacob Chai beat Mike Steiner