2019 Winter Cup – Rounds 1, 2 and 3

The Winter Cup is a Swiss tournament played across 7 rounds in August and September. There are two Swiss Grades of around 43 players each, the split is roughly at the 1500 NZCF July 2019 rating.

Things have gotten a little far behind so I’m catching up the first 3 rounds of the Winter Cup in one post.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade

A Grade Round 1

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.

2019 Club Champs – Round 9

The Auckland Chess Centre Club Champs was held in from June to August 2019. There were two 10-player round-robin grades and a Swiss Grade. All grades were FIDE and NZCF rated.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Round 9 PGN by Nigel Metge and Ewen Green

Commentary for A grade by Nigel Metge.
Commentary for B Grade by Simon Lyall

A Grade

Steadman, 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!

Steadman vs Hague. After 21…Rag8

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.

Steadman v Hague after 40 f4

Gong, 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.

Gong vs Watson after 27…Bc6?

Ang, 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.

Ang vs Garbett after 23…Ngh5

Fan, 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.

Fan vs Zhang after 24 Rh3 1-0

Goodhue, Nathan – Macdonald, Paul 1-0

Paul 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.

Goodhue vs Macdonald after 14…Bd7

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.

B Grade

Abraham Deng vs Caroline Yan – Draw

The game quickly bogged down to a stuck position (see diagram) in which niether side could make progress.

Deng vs Yan – Final position.

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.

Eade vs Xie after 28. Qxb6

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.

McDougall vs Ha after 25. R6f3

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.

C Grade

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.

2019 Club Champs – Catchup Games

Not all games in the Club Champs were played on Monday. For various reasons some were played at other times. These are ones that (we think) have not been printed earlier.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

PGN by Ewen Green

Commentary by Simon Lyall

A Grade

Paul Macdonald vs Ben Hague – Round 1 – 0-1

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.

Macdonald vs Hague after 32..Rxa2

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.

Garbett vs Fan after 24 fxe5

B Grade

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.

Xie vs Lewis. Black prepares to play Rxd3

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.

Lyall vs Ha. White to play 31 Rxd6+

2019 Club Champs – Round 8

Apologies for getting a little behind with these. I hope to get us caught up in the next few days.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Round 8 PGN by Nigel , Ewen and Tim

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

An 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.

Watson vs Steadman after 20…f5

Macdonald, 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.

Macdonald vs Fan after 27…Bc5

Zhang, 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.

Zhang vs Ang afrer 10. Nxb5?

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

Ha vs Eade. White plays 33. Nxe5 (=) and misses the better 33. Rb3

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.

Xie vs Nagorski after 8. a3

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.

Ravi vs Ning. White missed the winning move 27. Rg5

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.

Zhang vs Treanor. Black about to play 16. Bh6

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.

Wang vs Pendharkar. White to play after 17…Nd8

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.

2019 Club Champs – Round 7

Don’t forget to enter the Winter Cup which starts August 19th. The Tournament will be two rated Swiss grades of roughly equal size.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Round 7 PGN by Ewen Green and Nigel Metge

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.

Garbeet vs Hague after 9..bxc6

A Grade Round 7

A round of decisive games and in particular Ben Hague loses to Bruce Watson opening the competition for first place.

Watson, Bruce – Hague, Ben 1-0

Against 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; 18.Nf6+

After 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!

Watson vs Hague after 24. Bf3

Ang, 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.

Ang vs Macdonald after 19. Nf5

Fan, 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.

Fan vs Goodhue after 18. Kh2

Steadman, 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.

Steadman vs Garbett after 25. Rg3

Gong, 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.

Gong vs Zhang – After 25 Nf3?

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.

Lyall vs Eade after 9. Bc4. White has missed Nxc3 followed by Qa5 attacking c3 and e5.

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.

Xie vs Lyall after 21…Be7

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.

Lyall vs Yan after 18. Qf2

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.

McDougall vs Liu. Black has just taken a piece on d2. What is White’s only move?

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.

Treanor vs Burrows after 22..Kf8. White to play.

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.

2019 Club Champs – Round 6

With the School Holidays over we saw a big increase in the number of boards this week. Photos from this round taken by Simon Lyall are online.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Round 6 PGN by Nigel Metge and Ewen Green

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.

Steadman vs Macdonald after 25. f4

A Grade Round 6

Garbett, 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.
Garbett vs Watson after 14…Bb7?!

Hague, 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!

Hague vs Fan after 16. Nc5

Goodhue, 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!

Goodhue vs Ang after 29. Qb3

Macdonald, 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.

Zhang, 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

Yan vs MacDougall. After 24. fxg4 . Black misses 24…f3!

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

Liu vs Eade. White to play and win (move 17)

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

Ravi vs Zhang after 20. fxe5

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.

2019 Club Champs – Round 5

The second week of the school holidays saw many younger players away. Events this/last week including the New Zealand Junior and Senior tournaments plus Howick and Pakuranga’s 50th Anniversary dinner.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Round 5 PGN by Ewen Green

Commentary for all grades in round 5 by Simon Lyall.

A Grade

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

Macdonald vs Zhang. The computer says Nd5 is completely winning due to the opening a1-h8 diagonal. White played Ne6 that “only” puts him 2 points up.

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.

B Grade

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.

C Grade

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

B Zhang vs K Zhang – White gives up a pawn and ignores the Knight on b3 to play 18. Nf6

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

Wang vs Polyakevich. 23…Rh5 , Black puts on pressure

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.

Peak vs Milne. White to play move 11.

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.

2019 Club Champs – Round 4

This was the first week of the school holidays so we managed to fit everybody in the main room without problems.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Club Champs Round 4 PGN by Ewen, Nigel, Tim and Alex.

A Grade commentary by Nigel Metge , B and C grade commentary by Simon Lyall.

A Grade

A round of decisive results…and up-and-down play!

Macdonald, 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.

Macdonald vs Watson. 21 Bh5?

Hague, Ben – Ang, Alphaeus 1-0

Alphaeus 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 apart.

An off-day for Alpaheus and a good attacking win by Ben.

Hague vs Ang after 13. f5

Goodhue, Nathan – Steadman, Michael 1-0

Nathan 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.

Goodhue vs Steadman. After 20. Raf1?

Zhang, 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.

Zhang vs Garbett. After 19 cxd4?!

B Grade

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

Yan vs Eade. White could play Bg5

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

McDougall vs Nagorski – Bxd4 wins a piece
McDougall vs Nagorski after 16. Ne2. Black to play and win.

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.

C Grade

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

Zhang vs Ning. Move 29. Black to play and win

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,

2019 Club Champs – Round 3

A reminder that Monday Chess does not stop for the School Holidays. There will be Chess as normal on Monday 8 July, 15 July, 22 July and 29 July.

If you will be away those days please text Simon (on 021 575 233) and let him know which days you will need a bye.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Round 3 PGN by Ewen Green and Nigel Metge. Annotated by Nigel for A and B grades.

A Grade

Commentary by Nigel Metge

A 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 complex positions.

Garbett, 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.

Garbett vs MacDonald after 30…Ne4

Watson, 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.

Watson vs Goodhue after 33. Qd4?

Zhang, 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.

Zhang vs Hague. 29…Qxd4

Steadman, Michael – Fan, Allen 1-0

In King’s Indian Defence, both players vary from the pure classical path with 6…Na6;7.g4

By 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.

B Grade

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

Nagorski vs Eade. 6. dxe5 threatened
Nagorski vs Eade. Final position.

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.

C Grade

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

Polyakevich vs Xin. White to Play and Win

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

Yu vs Peak. After 8 Nxc6

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

2019 Club Champs – Round 2 – B & C Grade

The Club Champs is played over the 9 rounds in June, July and August. This year the A and B Grades are 10-player round robins and the C Grade is a Swiss. All Grades are FIDE and NZCF rated.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade , C Grade
Draw: A Grade , B Grade

Club Champs B and C Grade PGN by Ewen Green

B Grade

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.

C Grade

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

Michael vs Zhang. White to play and win after 28 Bg4

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

Bashar vs Zhang. White plays 9 Re1 instead of the aggressive Bxe6

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.