Wellington Open 2016

Over Easter 2016 (March 25th – 27th) I played in the Wellington Open Chess Tournament. I play in the tournament about half of the time. This year it was again being played at the CQ Hotel in Cuba street so I was able to stay at the venue and also visit my favorite Wellington cafes.

There were 43 players entered (the highest for several years) with around 9 coming down from Auckland. I was ranked 16th with a rating of 1988 and the top 4 Wellington players ( Dive, Wastney, Ker & Croad) who are all ranked in the Top 10 in NZ were playing.

See the Tournament’s page for details and downloads for the games. Photos by Lin Nah and me are also up on Flickr for Days one, two and three.

Round 1 – White vs Dominic Leman (unrated) – Result win

This game was over fairly quickly after my opponents 5th Move (Nf6) which let me win a free Bishop after ( 5.. Nf6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bxc5 ) and then they played (7.. Nxe4) to take the pawn which loses the Night since I just pin it again the King with Qe2 and pick it up a move or two later.

 

 

Round 2 – Black vs Michael Steadman ( 2338) – Result lose

Mike plays at my club and is rated well above me. However I put on a pretty poor show and made a mistake early in the Opening (which was one of my lines rather than something Mike usually plays). Error on move 5 lost me a pawn and left my position poor. I failed to improve and resigned on move 21.

Round 3 – White vs Kate Song (1701) – Result win

After 6. ..a5

I was very keen on beating Kate. While she is rated almost 200 points lower than me she improving faster and beat me in the last round of the Major Open at the NZ Champs at the start of this year.

We were the same colours as our game in January so I spent some time prepping the opening to avoid my previous mistakes.

In that game Black played 6.. a5  (see diagram) and I replied with the inaccurate Be2 and got tied into knots on the Queen side. This time I played 7. Bd3 which is a better line. However after 7. ..Nh6 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. O-O black plays Ng4 which gives me some problems. After some back and forth Black ended up with a bit of a mid-game advantage with a developed bishop pair. and control of the open C file.

 

27. Bg5 and I offer a draw

However on move 27 after the rooks had been swapped I was able to play Bg5 which threaten to swap Black’s good Bishop or push it backwards. I offered a draw.

Luckily for me Kate picked to swap the Bishops and Queens with 27. ..Bxg5 28.Nxg5 Qd1+ 29.Qxd1 Bxd1 which left me with almost all my pawns on black squares and pretty safe from her white squared bishop. I then was able to march my King over to the Queenside while my Kingside was safe from the Bishop. After picking up a the a-pawn when the Knight and Bishops swapped I was left with a King plus A&B pawns vs King an b-pawn with around 3 tempo in reserve for pushing back the Black king.

Round 3 – Michael Nyberg vs Leighton Nicholls

Position after 71. Kxg4

Another game during round 3 went very long. This was the position after move 71 , White has just taken blacks last pawn. The game kept going till move 125! White kept try to force black to the edge of the board while black kept his king close to the centre and the Knight nearby (keeping the king away with checks and fork threats).

At move 125 Black (Nicholls) claimed a draw under the 50-move rule at which point Michael Nyberg asked “are you sure” and “are you prepared for any penalties?”. After Leighton confirmed he wanted to go ahead with the claim Michael claimed that the draw rules were changed a couple of years ago and that King+Rook vs King+Knight was allowed 75 moves. And that since the draw claim was incorrect Leighton should lose.

However a check of the Official FIDE rules online showed that there was no such special limited for the material, the rule is always 50 moves (Rule 9.3) . The penalty for incorrectly claiming a draw would also have been 2 minutes added to Michael’s time not Leighton losing the game (Rule 9.5b).

The Arbiter checked the rules and declared the game a draw while Michael grumbled about appealing it (which did not happen). Not a good way to end the game since I thought Leighton defended very well. Especially the way Michael was very aggressive while being completely in the wrong.

There have been exceptions to the 50-move draw rule in the past but it has been a flat 50 moves since at least 2001 since while some positions take longer in theory no human would actually be able to play them perfectly.

Round 4 – Black vs David Paul – Result win

Another game against somebody close to my rating but a little below. So while I should win it could be hard. I didn’t play the opening right however and ended up in a slightly poor position a couple of tempo down.

After 32 Re4 draw offered

After some maneuvering (and the odd missed move by both sizes) white offered a draw after move 32. I decided to press on with f6 and was rewarded when after 32. ..f6 33.Kf2 Kf7 White played 34.b4? which allowed me to play Nc3 and bounce my Night to b5 and then take the Bishop on d6 along with an extra pawn.

 

After 44. ..Kd6

A few moves later I’m a pawn up and with a clear path to the win although I made a mistake at the ended it wasn’t bad enough to be fatal.

 

 

 

Round 5 – White vs Russell Dive – Game lost

After getting onto 3 points after 6 rounds I was rewarded with playing the top seed. As often happens with stronger players he just seemed to make 2 threats with every move and my position slowly (well not that slowly) got worse and worse as I couldn’t counter them all (let alone make my own threats).

Eventually I resigned 3 pawns down with no play (computer assessed my position as -5.0)

Round 6 – Black vs Brian Nijman – Game Lost

Last round was once again against a higher rater play but one I had a reasonable chance against.

After 10. ..Bg6

I prepped a bit of the opening but he played something different and we anded up in a messy position with White better developed but not a huge advantage.

We both had bishops cutting though the position and Queens stuck to the side but it would be hard for me to develop my pieces. I was goign to have to work hard at getting them out into good positions

 

After 23. d5

After some swaps white ended up charging though my centre and with lots of threats. I spent a lot of time looking at this position workign out what to do.

White has the Bishop ready to take the pawn on b5 and offer check, possibly grab the Knight or pin the rook. While th Knight can also attack the rook. and the pawns can even promote.

I ended up giving up the exchange for a pawn but promptly lost a pawn when white castled and took on f7.

After 32. Ne2

I decided to push forward hoping to generate some threats and managed to when I threated to mate with two Knights or win a rook after 32. Ne2

34.Rxc5+ Kxc5 35.Be1 Rd8 36.Rc7+ followed but I played 36. ..Kd4 and blocked by Rook rather than Kb6 giving myself a tempo to move my rook to d1. This would have probably picked up another exchange and should have been enough for the win.

 

After 47. g6

And then I found another win. All I had to do was push the pawn. On move 47 I just have to put a piece on f2 to block the bishop from taking my pawn on g1. If 47. ..Nf2 48. Bxf2 Rxf2 49. g1=Q leaves me a Queen vs a rook and I can take the pawn on g6 straight away.

But instead I got Chess Blindness and just  swapped the pawn for the Bishop. I then tried to mate (or perpetual check) the King instead of trying to stop the pawns (the computer says 50. ..Nf4 is just in time). A few moves later I ran out of King-chasing moves and resigned. At which point everybody told me the move I missed 🙂

So I ended up with 3/6 or 50% in the tournament. I Losts to the players better than me and beat the lower rated ones. I’m a little disappointed with the last game and the games against Russell Dive and Mike Steadman but happy with the others. Definitely need to keep working on things though.

Links: Spinning Levers, Redis, College a bad investment, Playing the World Champ

New Year’s Resolutions – 3 month progress report

At the start of this year I made some New Years Resolutions. I thought I’d review how I was going after 3 months.

  1. Weight – Unchanged. Doing a bit of work here but obviously not enough, at least it is not going up.
  2. Driver License – Not started yet
  3. Chess – Done a lot of work here, plenty of practice and I’ve scored some good results. Feel I’ve made some improvement
  4. Programming – Not started yet

Overall it doesn’t look so good but I’m actually pretty happy. The chess is going well and I’m intending to start the programming course later this month.

2012 New Year’s resolutions

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions let alone publish them but I thought I’d go for it this year. If nothing else it’ll make me feel a bit guilty not keeping to them.

1. Get weight down to 80kg – Over the last couple of years my weight has drifted up from around 85kg to 95kg. My goal for this year is to get it down to 80kg.

2. Get my learners driver license – I don’t have a drivers license at all right now. Goal for this year is to at least pass the written test and get the first stage of a full license. Hopefully I’ll actual do a bit more than this but I think the learners is a good minimum.

3. Get chess rating to 2000 (either NZCF or FIDE) – My rating is currently hovering around the 1800 level for both my New Zealand (NZCF) and International (FIDE) rating. My goal is to get this 200 points higher which will put me into New Zealand “A” grade.

4. Complete  “Learning Python the Hard way” – My programming skills are a bit weaker than I would like. The is a fairly well known book/course Learn Python the Hard way by Zed Shaw that I’d like to complete to get my skills up a bit.

I’ve tried to make the goals realistic and list things I can actually finish. The weight goal and the chess goal are probably the hardest. The weight one will require me to stick to a diet pretty much all year while the chess one will require at least a couple of hours a day of study and practise.

I’m not sure how long the programming course will take, I’m guessing 20-50 hours if I do most of the extra-credit exercises. The drivers license things should be less perhaps 20 hours of road-code study plus the test itself.

Some of the things above cost money but I feel that they are all worthwhile enough to spend a bit on. This is especially the case where I’m spending a lot of hours on something. For example there is a video version of the python course available for $US 29. It would be silly of me to invest 20-50 hours in the course but “save” $29 by not paying for the full version.

The license and programming goals are a little unambitious but with them I’m hoping to (a) have something I will actually complete and (b) be things that have obviously follow-ups.

2011 South Island Champs

On July the 27th I went down to Christchurch for the South Island Chess Championship and and the South Island Rapid Championship at the Canterbury Chess Club. The events were 2 games a day for 4 days (Wednesday to Saturday) for the Champs and then 6 games on the Sunday for the rapid.

I flew down first thing on Wednesday for round 1 at 9:30am. It had snowed in Christchurch over the weekend and the Monday so there was a light layer of snow on the ground coming in. Since Christchurch rarely receives snow it had caused some disruption including cancelled flights earlier in the week. However my flight made it in okay and the weather was sunny although a little chilly for my stay. The club is in a light industrial area in the centre-west of Christchurch that has seen little damage from the recent earthquakes. While there were a few cracked buildings, damaged chimneys and other minor mess the area was in fact busier due to businesses from damaged areas moving their while restaurants that were open were busy due to those in the city being closed.

The Tournament had 25 entries with The top being Steven Lukey ( NZCF rating 2332, rank 11th) and John MacDonald ( Rating 2114, rank 48th) being the top ranks with me being ranked 17th in the field on 1699. Games were 90 Minutes plus 30 seconds a move and held at around 9:30 and 3pm each day.

Round 1 – White vs Ross Jackson ( 1975 )

The opening was a fairly standard c3 Sicilian with Ross making things up a little as he went so I kept a small advantage for the first 20 moves. At that point Ross made a mistake and allowed me to win the exchange ( a rook for a bishop) which solidified my advantage. However he did have 2 bishops so I did not feel my advantage was decisive especially against somebody rated 300 points higher than me so I offered a draw on move 32 which he accepted.

Rd 3- White to play 13. d5?

Round 2 – Black vs Arie Nijman ( 1895 )

Arie is an older player playing in his 55th(!) Canterbury Championship (which the SI Champs acts as). The opening was a Petroff with 5. Qe2 and white retained an advantage coming out of the opening. I started to get ahead around move 14 before blundering a pawn on move 15. I then had to defend for around 10 moves before we swapped down to a rook and a bishop each by move 29. A further swap was down to a bishop and 6 pawns (him) vs a bishop and 4 pawns (me) but we had opposite colour bishops so I though I had a chance to draw. We eventually had pawns racing down opposites of the board with him sacrificing his bishop to stop mine and me probably have to sacrifice mine soon (which probably still wouldn’t have stopped him). However he lost track of time on his clock and it ran out giving me the win.

Round 3 – White vs Dan Dolejs ( 1882 )

Dan played a Scandinavian with “2. Nf6” which I expected and had practised a little for, although he did a different variation on move 5 than I’d expected I have looked at the one he did so had a rough idea what to play. On move 9 I was the equivalent of a point ahead but I soon wandered a little as the middle game kicked in. However on move 13 I made a blunder (see diagram) which allowed a check on h2 and a strong attack from black. By the computer’s estimate I was the equivalent of 3 pawns down. However I managed to defend well and black didn’t press his advantage well until we got to the position (see diagram 2) after 24. ..Nc6. My move dxc6! wins the game since it puts me a piece up since if black tries to take my queen then I take both his rooks and queen my pawn on b8. Blacks reply ( Rxe1 26. cxb7 Kxb7 27. Qxd8 Rxa1 28. Bxa1 ) left me a bishop up and an active queen which I used to pick off black’s pawns and eventually checkmate (although I missed a few earlier mating chances).

So after day 1 I have 1.5/2 against 2 higher rated opponents and was pretty happy.

Rd 3 - Position after 24. ...Nc6

Round 4 – Black vs Hamish Gold ( 1831)

I used to play against Hamish when we were at school. I gave up chess but he kept playing and last year came 1st equal in this tournament. The opening was a fairly standard Slav with an advantage to white after a let my position get a little cramped. Around move 19 I turned the tables a little and pushed a bishop and two Knights against white’s queen nad got ahead by 2 pawns. I was however short on time and offered a draw instead of risking going for the win.

Round 5 – Black vs Quintin Johnson ( 2116 )

With 3 points out of 4 I was actually playing on board 2 for round 5, however 3rd ranked Quintin Johnson was a much harder opponent. Agsin I had a slav opening but miscalcuated a couple of moves and got myself in trouble by move 15.  White build on his lead and overpowered me with his attack.

Round 6 – White vs Edward Rains ( 1884 )

The opening was a c3 Sicilian with g6. Black had a strong bishop down g7->a1 and after he swapped his white bisop for my f3 Knight and I made some lazy moves he captured both my centre pawns. I for one back at the expense of swapping a lot of material until we had just a knight, a rook & two pawns on each side plus he had a central passed pawn. 20 moves of manoeuvring later ( a 3 refusals of my offers for a draw ) . He unexpectantly swapped off all the pieces, made an inaccurate move and gave me a winning endgame.

I was now on 4 points out of 6 which I was very happy with given then higher ratings of all my opponents.

Round 7 – Black vs Ross McKarras ( 2070 )

White unexpectedly played the Bishops opening ( 1. e4 e5 2. Nc4 ) and I played it completely wrong to leave me down a full pawn and in a cramped position my move 10. A strong attacked followed and I risigned on move 40.

Round 8 – White vs Nigel Richardson ( 1705 )

I pulled out a sideline against the Alekhine’s defense which my opponent wasn’t familar with so he was on the back foot after the opening. I didn’t managment to convert my lead but was still a little ahead before he made a mistake and I gained a pawns and an attack. I missed the best continuation however and settled for being 2 pawns up and swapping queens. Some bad play by both sides followed (in timetrouble) until I eventually won.

I ended up with 4th equal with 5 points out of 8. However since all my opponents had a higher rating than me this was much higher than my expected score of around 2 so I will gain several rating points from the tournament.

July Update

I just updated this blog to wordpress 3.2 which came out this week. Only a small glitch caused by me running an old theme which wasn’t 100% compatible. WordPress itself seems to be better. I had a quick look at the Twenty Eleven theme which comes packaged with wordpress and it looks nice even via my mobile browser. I’m tempted to update from the Simplicity theme which I currently use.

I updated my hosted Linux VPS to Ubuntu 10.04 last week and took the opportunity to change the web software around when I did it. I’ve now replaced lighttpd+fastcgi with a standard apache2+mod_php setup but I’ve put Varnish 3.0 web accelerator in from of everything. Complete overkill for a bunch of small sites that I host but it gives me peace-of-mind for slashdotting type situations. Main reason for the move is that lighttpd is a little obscure these days while I use apache and varnish at work.

Last week I attended the 3 day NetHui conference in Auckland. The conference was aimed around Internet Policy for New Zealand. An interesting 3 days during which I attended (and missed) plenty of great discussion, talking to interesting people and saw a few great talks. The event was cheap to allow more people to attend and features a wide range of people including Lawyers, educationalists, techies, businessmen, civil servants and a few “interested in a private capacity” people. Great event. Here is a link to the media/blog coverage.

Later this month I’ll be in Christchurch for the South Island Chess Champs ( link to site not page since sites uses frames!!). Christchurch has been hit by 3 big earthquakes in the last year (and hundreds of small ones) and thousands of buildings have been damaged (Many have or will be demolished) so it will be interesting seeing some of this for myself (although I’ll be playing chess during most of the day). The tournament is one the other side of down from the most damaged areas however.

Also coming up this month I’ll be at Barcamp Auckland 5 , probably not speaking though.

The Call of Papers and Call for Miniconfs have also just come out for Linux.conf.au 2012 in Ballarat. Once again we’ll hopefully be able to run a Sysadmin Miniconf and I’m also thinking of putting in a talk proposal.

Waitakere Open 2009

Over Queen’s birthday weekend ( May 30th – June 1st ) I played in the Waitakere Licensing Trust Open. The tournament is held in Lincoln Road in West Auckland which is a dreary area of light industrial buildings, big-box retailers, fast-food and everything else that West Auckland prides itself on. I bought some breakfast at a small bakery along the road and when I mentioned that the shop next door had been broken into I was told that it was the 8th time that month. However this post is about the chess rather than urban design.

The event itself consisted of an A,B,C and Junior tournament with approx 32, 22, 25 and 33 players in each. I successfully applied to get into the “B” on my recent performance tournament even though it was for 1400-1700 rated players and I’m currently on 1274 so I was the lowest rated player in my grade.

Game 1 – White vs Dean Zhao ( 1555 ) – Sicilian c3

I had a fairly good opening, missed a couple of moves but by move 12 I had an advantage and black was very much pushed back and tied up. However I couldn’t find the best continuation and  my opponent managed to swap off my attacking pieces and then get a little ahead in the endgame. He then used an advantage of a couple of pawns to beat me. So I was very much outplayed.

Game 2 – Black vs Andrew Michael ( 1502 ) – Slav

A pretty even game for the first 20 moves or so. White was pushing a bit but no major fireworks. After that I slowly edged the position in my favour and threatened to win some material around move 28 and got a rook for a bishop and 2 pawns. However in a series of bad moves I missed a discovered check (lost my Knight) , the reply that would have won back the material and a few moves later ( after I was two rooks against a rook and two minor pieces) a chance to get a rook and a bishop for a rook. Finally I blundered into a fork and lost a rook and resigned. I was really disappointed with my play here, my errors were under time trouble (that was my fault) but I was still ahead and lost the game.

So after the first day I was on zero points and not very happy.

Game 3 – Black vs Ron Collingwood ( 1533 ) –  Slav

Another Slav although this transposed in so wasn’t very tidy. I was also worried about repeating some bits I didn’t like in the last game. White got a nice attack down the C file with both his rooks which had me in a bit of trouble, after he transferred his attack to down the F file I was lucky and was able to win an exchange by threatening mate. With two rooks vs a rook and a bishop and 6 pawns each I then got my rook behind his pawns, swapped off a rook and then slowly (50 moves) and carefully took his pawns until I had a king and 5 pawns against a king and he eventually resigned. My first win cheered me up.

Game 4 – White vs John Francis ( 1560 ) – c3 Sicilian / Advance French

As has happens sometimes my c3 Sicilian transposed into a Advanced-French. My 8 Bg5 and 9. Nh4 were not a good combo though and black punished me with a kingside pawn advance.  However I pushed back and he retreated which was not the best line. After 25 moves we had just a rook and two minor pieces each plus a solid wedge of pawns in the centre and queenside. A miscalculation on my part allowed him to get a bishop behind me which won a pawn but after swaps we were left with a drawn position and agreed to a draw.

I was a lot happier that night since I was on 1.5 points and only needed a little over 1 to play to my rating.

Game 5 – Black vs Brett Rider (1649) – Centre game / Danish Gambit

An unusual opening here ( 1. e4 e5  2. d4 exd4 3. Bb4 Nc6 4. c3 dxc3 5. Nxc3 Bb4 6. Nd2 Nf6 )  which my opponent sacrificed a pawn for not a lot of compensation. However I feel into a trap and white gained a pawn an an attack a few moves later. I managed to defend fairly well and things even up before white miscalculated an attack and game up a rook for three pawns. However he still had a strong attack didn’t try a perpetual check and continued to attack. I missed a counter attack and eventually made a mistake in a cramped position which resulted in me losing my queen and a pawn for a rook. I was unable to defend after that and lost.

Game 6 – White vs Helen Courtney ( 1393 ) – Scotch

My opponent had trouble with the opening and used a lot of her time and made a couple of incorrect moves, so I was a bit ahead after about 10 moves and the queens and one knight were gone.  After black start a pawn push against my queenside-castled king a saw a trick which backfired when she found the best reply. I then spent over 20 minutes working out what to do but found the best move and my opponent didn’t press her attack so I was a little lucky. A few messy moves later during which we both miscalculated some tactical tricks I emerged a bishop ahead and soon afterwards an additional rook ahead when a trick paid off. A few moves later I won on time.

Overall I am fairly happy with my performance although disappointed a couple of the games, especially Game 2. I played to a 1465 rating which is almost 200 above what I am on but probably close to my “real” ability. Definite room for improvement for improvement in my endgames ( openings were not too bad) and time control and moving under time pressure. Probably a few more actual online games will help and well as keeping up the study. I’m still missing simply tactics so plenty of room there.

North Island Champs – Easter 2009 – pt2

See the previous post for background and first few games.

One thing I noticed about central Wellington is that nowhere at all does a show sell any sort of can or bottle of soft-drink for less than $2.50 , I suspect it’s some sort of cartel of shopkeepers agreeing not to compete on the price. Anyway back to the chess..

Game 5 – White vs Lawrence Farrington ( 1603 ) – French – advance variation

Looking at this later I was probably a bit better off during the game than I thought I was at the time. I got a little tied up on the Queen side and black play c4, Bd7 and threat of Nb3. I spent a bit of time shuffling around pieces to deal with that and in the meantime black attacked on the Kingside. After some swaps of material he tried a king side rook attack but after a moved my king over and we swapped down to a King, Rook and 7 pawns each we agreed on a draw since his king side attack was stuck. However looking at it in the computer it looks like I could have started a Quuenside push which would have been very hard to stop. Still I was happy with the result at the time especially against a stronger player.

Game 6 – White vs Simon Ward ( 1717 ) – Sicilian Alapin with 2 ..d5

This was one of the first times I’ve played this opening in a competitive game and I managed to follow the right moves until a deviated on move eight. I was fairly even after a few swaps ( 2R+B+N+6P each ) but then wasted some time trying a king side attack with a rook along the 5th rank. There was then a bit of heavy manoeuvring in the centre with my opponent getting ahead and me into trouble. before things swung a bit my way and things were probably a draw with scatted pawns and a minor piece each. However I looked at my clock and it had run out ( either I forgot to press it or it hadn’t registered the press) and I had lost. I was pretty disappointed since I almost certainly had a draw against a higher rated opponent.

That night ( Easter Sunday) we went to a little middle-eastern sort of place. Nice enough but a bit short of menu options due to the weekend. We also had a coffee and cake afterwards.

Game 7 was a 1 point bye for me which put me on 3 points ( 2 draws, 1 win , 1 bye and 3 losses )

Game 8 – Black against Bill Forster ( 1953 ) – Petrov 3 Nights

My opponent played a weak move in the opening but I didn’t really take advantage of it and things were fairly even until I got a pawn up around move 13 and then picked up another fending off a queenside attack although I missed a move at the end which would have left me another pawn better. After a few swaps we each had 3 pawns on the king side plus a rook and I had a extra “b” pawn. However I blundered and let my opponent take a couple of my pawns for nothing. I was pretty lost when my opponent totally blundered and gave me a rook for nothing! and then resigned a few moves later.

So overall in my 7 actually games I got 3 points against an average strength of 1788 and played to a rating of 1731 or 457 points above my actual rating. I definitely had a bit of luck in the last game though. My 4 points for the tournament but me in the middle of the field at 14-equal and half a point behind the “C grade” winners.

Overall I was fairly happen with my tournament. I still have lots of room to improve in several aspects of my game but being able to play okay games against 1600-1900 players shows that getting to that sort of rating is not beyond my grasp.

As far as the tournament itself I liked the venue but can’t say I was too impressed with the organisation at times. The full official results still don’t appear to be up but I did a little post to the Auckland Chess Centre website summarising the results of the ACC players.

North Island Champs – Easter 2009

Over Easter 2009 I went to the North island Chess Championship in Wellington. The event was 8 games over 4 days ( Friday to Monday ) and a single Swiss draw of 31 players. The field was fairly strong with the top 7 players in the field being in the top 20 in New Zealand. I was ranked down the bottom at 28th on a 1274 rating.

I took Thursday off and flew down first thing with my partner. During Thursday we wandered around Wellington ( Checking the buses to the venue ) went to some shops and went to the Terracotta Warriors of Qin which was pretty good. That evening I went to Wellington Thursday Night Curry.

On Friday the games started. Things were a little disorganised ( which the Wellington players joked about ) but we eventually got goine. Games were at 9:30am and 2:30pm each day.

Game 1. Black vs Ross Jackson ( 1972 ) – Exchange Slav

I was fairly equal for most of the game and eventually got an endgame where material was even but I was much better and was winning. However I wasn’t sure how to win so I offered my opponent a draw which he accepted.

Game 2 White vs Nathan Goodhue ( 1897 ) – Double fianchetto opening by Black

The unusual opening by black confused me quite a bit and I was in a bit of trouble. The game was fairly even but after we swapped off most of the pieces I played the endgame badly and ended up losing.

Unfortunately my girlfriend picked up a sour throat / cough in Wellington so was stuck in bed most of the weekend, we went to one of the Malaysian places near Cuba St for dinner though. It was fairly nice.

Game 3 Black vs Han Gao ( 1268 ) – Petrov’s Defence – Cochran’s Gambit

I got into a bit of trouble at the start. Cochran’s Gambit gave my opponent a pretty good attack and since I didn’t defend properly I was even but very low on time. However it turned out my clock was setup wrong ( see organisation problems above ) so I got an extra 15 minutes added to my time. I was able to win an endgame with bishop and 5 pawns vs 8 and 8 pawns.

Game 4 Black vs Quentin Johnson ( 2109 ) – Slav

I made a mistake in the opening which put be on the back foot pretty quickly. I made lots of little mistakes after that and my opponent’s position just got better and better until my position was completely lost and I resigned

That night went out to Indian Malaysian with some friends followed by some tea from and Asian tea place ( which is strangely much less asian than the ones in Wellington). [ to be continued ]

MIT Waitangi Rapid – 7 Feb 2009

As part of my chess goal for 2009 I’m am working on entering as many tournaments as possible. My first one was a 6 round 25+5 at The Manukau Institute of Technology on the Saturday after Waitangi Day. The venue is close to the Otara Markets so my partner dropped me off and went shopping and I caught a rid back into town afterwards.

The tournament was divided into 4 grades ( A-C plus a Junior under 14 years and under 1300 rating ) with  97 entries fairly evenly divided into each. In the previous tournament I went into C grade ( 1400 and below ) but I decided to go up a grade into the 1400-1700 grade ( my rating is 1314 but I’m a little underrated) since I would get better games, have a better chance to increase my rating and also be upstairs with the “adults” rather than downstairs in the same room as the noisy juniors (and their parents).

Since the time control is fairly short and I forgot to bring a pen I only recorded part of two of my games.

  1. I was white against Phillip Logo (1568) , ended up a bit behind and eventually lost
  2. I was Black against William Li (1371) and was going fairly even until he missed a pin at the end of an exchange I I ended up a Bishop ahead.
  3. White against Philip Mukkattu (1298) who is a bit underrated, this was fairly even and I was a pawn up towards the end of the middle game. However after an endgame with a Queen and a bunch of pawns each Phillip captured more of my pawns before forcing a queen swap and won.
  4. Black against Vivian Smith (1582), I played pretty weak here, got myself all cramped up and made weak moves and eventually Vivian ended up a rook ahead and I resigned.
  5. White against Gary Judkins (1409) was interesting, I ended up with an interesting opening and got a little ahead with a good attack on the king side. He then gave me an opening to attack and after I thought about it for something like 15 minutes I did with the e-pawn and then sacked my bishop against h6 for a very strong attack. He got out of the attack but ended up behind in material and eventually I finished him off with only a little time on my clock.
  6. Black against Thomas Gothorp (1296), I was going okay but he made a strong queen side attack which I didn’t defend well against and he got ahead. However he captured in the wrong order so we ended up with a fairly even endgame. However he made a blunder and I got a piece ahead and won after a few close calls.

In both of the last two games I was very short on time, less than 30 seconds on the clock and having to move within 5 seconds ( each move gives me an extra 5 seconds on the clock) in order to prevent it going down. I’ve found however that I can play reasonable well on this sort of time and that often my opponent is demoralised by my fast (and reasonably okay) play. In the case of game 5 I used up a lot of time checking a speculative move that turned out to be good but as a rule I’m still not managing my time well.

Overall I ended up getting 3/6 or 50% and playing to a 1420 or around 100 points over my current ranking and playing okay in every game except the one against Vivian Smith. Still I need a lot more practice to get my rating and ability over the 1700 mark.

The tournament itself was pretty good though, nearly 100 players and nice surroundings makes it a good start to the year and the A-grade especially was quite strong.