Saturday, December 01, 2012

Postcard from the London Chess Classic, Round 1

Dear chess friends,

Today was the first round of the London Chess Classic, and as a Londoner now, I was able to attend the first round .  And what a round!  Every game decisive, 3 Black wins, including a Black one from the USA, Hikaru Nakamura.  GM Carlsen's win over Luke McShane was one of the most impressive wins I've seen-- check out Black's decisive King penetration into g3 with Queens on the board!  His ability to crush 2700 players in this way reminds me of all the great World Champions.

The position looked safe, even better, for White earlier, but by Move 56, Black's domination is clear.

I also got the fighting spirit in me, and entered one of the many side events that will be happening every day of this event.  But first, to get loose, I took on GM Emms in a charity donating blitz game.

I've played through every puzzle in his book about 10 times as part of my earlier tactical training. One of the few books I've nearly worn the cover off.
That old training had no effect on the outcome, as he spanked me 2-0.

In the evening, I entered the 5 minute blitz tournament, and in round 2 got paired with an IM.  I was very excited when I achieved the following very promising position:

Black to play, and still with reasonable blitz time remaining (+5 second increment).

In case you've missed it, I'm up a piece and a mass of pawns here.  The only problem left to be solved is that pesky passed pawn.  The correct approach is the direct, but patient one 1...Be6 with Bf6 to follow.  One White try might go 2. Ra7 Rxd1+ 3. Nxd1 Ne8. 4. Nf6 f5 (no need to give back pawns) 5. g5 h6 and it is clear that White's pawn isn't going anywhere.

Instead, chess rust took over, and I try for a deep tactical resolution that fails.  1... Ne8?  2. Bxe8  Now here Black can still come out ahead with Bf6, but I thought with Ne8 that I saw something:  2...Bxg4 3. Bc6 and now, amazingly, Black can still eek out a small plus with 3...Bxh3.  But I saw something, remember.  3...Bxd1? 4. Ra8 Rxa8 5. Bxa8 and.... whoops, my intended Ba4 is covered by the knight.  Sadness, and a good example of trying too hard with a 6 move-deep hanging pieces everywhere tactic when plain moves will do.

With a4 covered, there is no way to cover the queening square, 1-0, and an IM gets away from me.
I can't say that my other games went super great, either, and I finished the blitz with 2-3.  A rusty return, but I enjoy having a world class tournament in my own backyard.

All the best from London,

1 comment:

Will Wisdom said...

Thanks for sharing Jason.