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.

2019 Club Champs – Round 2 – A 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

A Grade PGN and commentary by Nigel Metge

A Grade

Of 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.

Ang, Alphaeus – Steadman, Michael 1-0

Michael 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

Ang vs Steadman. Black resigns after 25 g5

Goodhue, Nathan – Garbett, Paul ½-½

In 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.

Fan, 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

Fan vs Watson. After 29. Rxg7

The correct 29…Raa2! Is easy to see but hard to calculate!

After Black’s 29…c4? White has time to bring his rooks to the 7th and hold the draw by perpetual check.

Hague, 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

2019 Club Champs – Round 1

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

Round 1 PGN by Nigel Metge, Alex Nagorski and Ewen Green

A Grade

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

Macdonald vs Hague. 16 Rfe1

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

Zhang vs Goodhue. 30 h5!

Garbett, Paul – Fan, Allen 1-0

Allen 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

Bruce’s 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!

A 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.

B Grade

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

C Grade

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

Pendharkar vs Chang, Was has 12.. Qd4 allowed for White

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

2019 Autumn Cup – Round 7

The Autumn Cup is being played on Monday in April, May and June and consists of two Swiss Grades. It is Nationally Rated.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade

Round 7 PGN by Ewen Green

Commentary by Alex Nagorski

A Grade

Alphaeus Ang vs Bruce Watson – Sharp Nimzo-Indian variation was played and White got the usual bishop pair and the open position. The fight saturated with tactics finished when White missed the best continuation. Further swaps led to an opposite colour bishop endgame and a draw. 1/2-1/2

Paul Garbett vs Mike Steadman – White ceased the initiative from the very start when Black played non-theoretical line. White kept pressing until he got to a completely won position. Yet he blundered playing 15.Qh5?? generously giving Black to win the game. Black paid the same coin and missed the winning 15…Rxg2 and then 16…Rxg2 on the next move (the opportunity was still there). After missing that chance Black resigned 5 moves later. 1-0

Daniel Gong vs Felix Xie – White dominated for the most of the game even though at some point in midgame the position was equal. The pawn endgame that occurred looked suspiciously drawish at first sight, but White’s distant passer was obviously a huge advantage that decided the game in White’s favour. 1-0

Allen Fan vs Abraham Deng – Black got a very active position with hanging pawns c and d. However, Black missed his chance to get rid of the hanging pawns and open the position. After that White’s pressure increased and Black lost an exchange to some tactics and resigned on move 41. 1-0

John Duneas vs Jordan Lewis – Sharp tactical play that followed a highly non-theoretical Slav Defence line resulted in Black’s piece blunder on move 22. After that Black resigned. 1-0

Jasmine Zhang vs Boyuan Zhang – White had a good start and even won a piece but then made a mistake 13.f3? which Black didn’t use. After the correct 13…Bb4+ Black would have returned back the piece having practically two extra pawns on the q-side. Missing that Black resigned on move 29 1-0 

Phili Park-Tamati vs Aaron Wang – White quickly won an exchange due some tactics and was able to get even more in the endgame then converted to the win. 1-0

Paul Macdonald – Nigel Metge – Paul played his favourite but rather passive 1.b3. He weakened his king position being slightly inaccurate at tactics. Black used the defects of White’s inharmonious located pieces and was able to
infiltrate the 2nd rank. The final combination of Black with a queen sac is quite spectacular (see diagram) (Black plays 25…Qxf1+!!) 0-1

Macdonald vs Mege. Black to play and win.

Grant Burrows vs Don Eade – Opponents played the Yugoslav attack in Dragon variation of Sicilian defence. White got a winning position but couldn’t find a way for a final attack. Then he missed a draw by perpetual. Black consolidated and struck back winning the game. 0-1

Euan McDougall vs Timothy Ha – White played a very harmless line against Scandinavian wasting many tempi on back and forth moves. Eventually he got punished by Black for his lack of piece development. 0-1

Xinyang Liu vs Stephen Peak – The game quickly reached the endgame phase where White happened to have a good knight vs bad bishop. That allowed White to win a pawn and the game. 1-0

Karl Holdo vs Mohammad Bashar – Black gradually got an “almost won” position totally dominating in the centre and q-side. Black started some bizarre
maneuvering and allowed White to push the f-pawn and open the position. White consolidated his position and reached a winning position. However, a couple of mistakes on White’s behalf brought the game to a draw rook endgame. 1/2-1/2

Arkadi Polyakevich vs Andrew Michael – White was pretty much on top of the situation for the entire game. Yet he missed a forced win involving a rook sac 17. Rxf6 which allowed White to build up an attack against Black’s king and finish the game quicker. Nevertheless White kept control over the situation and won the game. 1-0

Joe Wang vs Virginia Milne – The game was rather equal until the light pieces were swapped down. White managed to win a pawn. Black tried some tactics but blundered her queen due to checkmate threat on the 8th rank. 1-0

Jeffrey Yu vs Kendrik Zhang – White built up quite nicely in the opening but then gradually gave it all away. Black gained serious advantage but missed a win. The correct 29… Qd1+  followed by 30…Rb1 would have made a day for Black. Missing that the players went for a rook endgame with an extra pawn for Black. White found a nice draw stand and the game finished peacefully. 1/2-1/2

Upsets in Round 7

Joe Wang beat Virginia Milne
Philli Park-Tamati beat Aaron Wang

Final Result

1st Equal: Paul Garbett and Bruce Watson on 5.5
2rd Equal: Alex Nagorski, Alphaeus Ang, Allen Fan, John Duneas and Daniel Gong on 5.0

B Grade

Scott Treanor vs Hugh Gao – Short and tactical game in which White used all the ideas of Saemisch King’s Indian without meeting any decent resistance. Black resigned facing a lethal attack on the h-file 1-0

Jack Chen vs John Liu – Due to Black inaccurate play White gained a winning attack in the opening devastating all around Black’s king. The game ended with checkmate on move 23. 1-0

Upsets in Round 7

Michael Malcolm beat Hunter Po’e-Tofaeono
Jack Chen beat John Liu

Final Result

1st: Jack Chen on 6.0
2nd: Scott Treanor on 5.5
3rd: Huge Gao and Lucas Xiao on 5.0

2019 Autumn Cup – Round 6

The Autumn Cup is being played on Monday in April, May and June and consists of two Swiss Grades. It is Nationally Rated.

Vega Links: A Grade , B Grade

Round 6 PGN by Ewen Green
Commentary by Alex Nagorski

A Grade

Bruce Watson vs Alex Nagorski – White chose a modest opening variation. Black missed some chances to equalise in the opening. The game swapped down to a 4 knight endgame which appeared to be hard for Black. Black missed a couple of chances to create decent counter-play and got himself into a vice. 1-0

Paul Garbett vs Alphaeus Ang – Quite a sharp game despite it’s endgame emphasis. Black had some advantage that went to White as some point. Then after long maneuvering White’s advantage faded away gradually and the game was even. Black missed a chance to capitalise on White’s inaccuracy and cut the White’s rook off the game playing 40.Nf6! (leaving his own rook active). After some further swaps the game finished in a draw in pawn endgame. 1/2-1/2

Garbett vs Ang. after 39.. Rc6 black missed 40. Nf6

Mike Steadman vs Paul Macdonald – Mike’s usual “deferred b4” yielded a good result. Black got a very cramped position missing some chances to strike in the centre to equalise. White built up an attack on the king side, Black tried to counter attack White’s king that stuck in the centre. Eventually White was faster at reaching opponent’s king. Black resigned facing a checkmate or losing the queen as alternative. 1-0

Felix Xie vs John Duneas – Black was ahead for the most of the game yet missed some chances capitalise in the midgame. When players reached move 36 the game was equal. Playing 41…Rd4? Black offered rook exchange which was a blunder. White missed a chance to use it by 42.Nf8+ Kg8(h8) 43.Rxd4 Bxd4 44.Nxg6 winning a pawn and gaining excellent winning chances. After some swaps the game finished in a dead draw rook endgame 1/2-1/2

Xie vs Duneas after 41… Rd4?

Timothy Ha vs Allen Fan – After an equal start White rushed to open the position which Black managed to exploit. Then White lost exchange and was unable to recover. 0-1

Nigel Metge vs Abraham Deng – White had serious advantage from the opening. Then he tried to attack sacing his knight on g5. The sac was unsound as Black had some tactical resources based on checkmate threat. So White ended up one piece short and with no attack. After swapping down the pieces Black prevailed. An excellent achievement by the young player. 0-1

Boyuan Zhang vs Xinyang Liu – Very equal game until Black blundered some tactics. After several suspicious combos from both sides White came one piece up. So Black resigned 1-0

Virginia Milne vs Phili Park-Tamati – Black got initiative and kept the edge until the endgame. However, White missed a perfect chance to turn around the table and even win! That was possible playing the correct 39.Ke5! instead of the losing 39.Kc6?? Then White takes the Black’s g-pawn creating a more distant passer. White can win the e-pawn first if Black’s king goes for the h-pawn. You can see that White takes the g-pawn and has an extra tempo to reach the opposition on the q-side, which means the win. Instead of that Virginia made a wrong choice and lost the game.  0-1

Milne vs Park-Tamati . Black has just played 39.. g4 , what should White play?

Simon Lyall vs Joe Wang – White built up some pressure and won the exchange and the game afterwards.  1-0

Andrew Michael vs Euan McDougall – A seesaw game where chance tripped from one side to another many times due to both player mistakes. Finally Black got the edge and won the epic good knight vs bad bishop endgame. 0-1

Winston Weng vs Grant Burrows – Black won a pawn early in the opening and kept the tension throughout the game. White resigned facing loss of more material. 0-1

Anya Thurner vs Nathan Goodhue – Fairly even game in the beginning, even though White had some chances to play better and get advantage. Yet White managed to maneuver towards Black’s king and create serious threats. The tension peaked – on move 27 when White failed to find the best continuation for her attack. After the correct 27.Nf5! White threatens Nh6# 27…Rfe8 is the only way to prevent that. White could have continued 28.Qg5 Nd7 29. Nh6+ Kf8 30.Ng4 Nxf6 31.Qxf6 Bd4 32. Rxd4 exd4 33 e5 Qd8 34.Qh8+ Ke7 35.Qg7and I would leave this position to the reader to assess. Failing to keep the attack White got thrown back and couldn’t recover. 0-1

Thurner vs Goodhue after 26. ..g6

Kendrik Zhang vs Karl Holdo White kept some initiative at first but then weakened his king’s position. Trying to attack White forgot about prophylactics and got himself under a huge attack that cost him his queen. White resigned. 0-1

Arkadi Polyakevich vs Jeffrey Yu – White was pushing throughout the whole game. Black had a couple of chances to equalise but he missed them. White’s knights forked Black’s king and queen in the final attack. 1-0

Ajit Pendharkar vs Isabelle Ning – Black appeared slightly better from the opening. Then she allowed White’s cavalry to infiltrate her defence and get some materal. White kept the pressure until the end when Black faced a checkmate or more material loss. 1-0

Upsets in A Grade round 6

Abraham Deng beat Nigel Metge
Boyuan Zhang beat Xinyang Liu
Felix Xie drew with John Duneas

After 6 rounds the leader was Bruce Watson on 5 points. Just behind on 4.5 was Alphaeus Ang, Paul Garbett, Alex Nagorski and Mike Steadman

B Grade

Upsets in Round 6

Vincent Cai beat Yolanda Chang
Adam Macauley beat Lylea Po’e-Tofaeono

Leaders after 6 roudns were Jack Chen and Hugh Gao on 5.0 ahead of Scott Treanor and John Liu on 4.5