Saturday, August 29, 2009

Astro Merdeka Rapid Round 1

Observed this game from the first round of the Astro Merdeka Rapid Team Championship between Irman and one Mohamed Sirajuddin. Nothing spectacular except that the player of the black pieces looked like eight or nine years old. Irman himself was a promising junior once, a long time ago.

White had about a minute left while black still had almost five. White had just played 1. Rh4 trapping the black queen and fully expecting to win the game. Out of desperation, black played 1...f6. The knight cannot move due to ..Qxf3+ so 2. Rxh5 fxg5 3. Qxg5 Bxf3+ 4. Rg2 Bxh5 5. Rg3 Rxf2 6. Qe7 Rcf8 7. Qxe6+ Kh7 8. Rh3 Rf1+ 9. Kg2 R8f2+ 10. Kg3 Rf3+ 11. Kh4 Rf4+ 12. Kg3 and White could not escape the perpetual checks.

There is an interesting winning try for black on his eigth move. 8...cxd4!

9. Kg1 Rf1+ 10. Kg2 R8f2+ 11. Kg3 d3 12. Qd7 d2 and white must lose heavy material example 13. e6 Rf3+ 14. Kg2 d1=Q

White's best plan is 9. Qd7 d3 10. Rxd3 (10. Qxd3 loses the queen after 10...Rf1+ 11. Kg2 R8f2+ 12. Kg3 Rf3+) 10... Bf3+ 11. Rxd3!

If white does not give up the rook immediately, 11. Kg1?? Rg2+ 12. Kh1 (12.Kf1 Bc6+ winning the queen) Rxb2+ 13. Kg1 Rg2+ 14. Kh1 Rxa2+ 15. Kg1 Rg2+ 16. Kh1 Rg3+ is even worse.

10...R8xf3 11. e6 Rxb2 12. Kg1 Rc3 13. Qd1

The queen is helpless against the two rooks as she must constantly guard the back rank mate.

13...Re3! 14. Qc1 (14. Qf1 to answer 14...Rxe6 with 15. Qh3+ loses to 14...Rxa2 followed by 15...Rae2 ) 14...Rbe2 15. Qc4 Rxe6 16. Qh4+ Kg8 17. Qd8+ Re8 18. Qd5+ Kh7 with a winning ending for black

Tiger catches coveted prey

DATMO 2009 ended with a bang for "Tiger" Mok Tze Meng. He managed to secure his 3rd and final IM norm and now needs only to reach the 2400 rating mark to officially claim his title.

Mok's score of 6/9 also netted him the best Malaysian prize. No other Malaysian was able to win an of the Open prizes. The other Malayisan prizes went to IM Jimmy Liew, Lim Chuin Hoong, Lim Yee Weng and Tan Khai Boon.

This tournament also produced a record number of title norms, eight I believe. Two of these were GM norms and the Philippines benefited greatly with IM Ronald Dableo and untitled Emmanuel Senador getting their GM norms.

Emmanuel had a great tournament, leading at the last round and with the GM norm in hand. However he lost to Negi Parimarjan who therefore tied with Dableo at seven points each. Negi won the championship title on better tie-break.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unable to post

I will not be able to do any more posts as my notebook has gone in for repairs. Perhaps I'll get it back in few days

Sunday, August 23, 2009

DATMO 2009 R2: Heartbreak round

How do you lose a winning game? If you are me, its easy :)

[Event "DATMO 2009"]
[Site "Treo"]
[Date "2009.08.23"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Jimmy Liew"]
[Black "Xiu Deshun"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D38"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. e3 c5

A bit of a surprise, I had expected 6...c6 transposing to the Cambridge Springs Defence.

7. cxd5 exd5 8. Qc2 Qa5 9. Bd3 c4

This opening hinges on control of the e4 square and the pressure on c3. I had to spend a lot of time as I was already out of book on the seventh move while my opponent hardly spent any time at all.

10. Bf5

The bishop must remain on this diagonal

10... O-O 11. O-O Re8 12. Rfc1 g6

Black had a long think here before playing this move. Obviously black has some problems with his piece placement, once he cannot gain control of e4.

13. Bxd7 Nxd7 14. Ne2!

I think this caught him by surprise as he had another long think. I was catching up on time now.

14... f6

I'm not sure this is a good plan. The f6 square is going to become a target

15. Bh4 Kg7 16. a3 Bd6 17. b3

I was considering between this and 17. Nc3. Somehow during the analysis I mixed things up. 17. Nc3 is better as it prevents black's next move.


If 17...cxb3. 18. Qxb3 and there are weaknesses on d5 and b7.

18. a4 Nb6 19. axb5 Qxb5 20. bxc4 dxc4

My opponent does not have a title but already rated 2500+ and recently won a tournament in the Philippines ahead of many grandmasters. So I was quite pleased that I had a achieved a better position by playing normal moves. It shows how difficult it is for black to equalise in the opening without resorting to riskier openings such as Benoni or King's Indian.

I had expected 20...Qxc4 when I planned 21. Qd2 Qb4 22. Rc7+ Re7 23. Rc6! Qxd2 24.Bxf6+ Kxf6 25. Rxd6+ winning a pawn.

Now I started a long analyse. The c4 pawn looks dangerous and restricts my pieces so I started a combination to exchange it

21. Nc3 Qc6 22. d5!? Nxd5 23. Nd4 Qb7

23..Qc5?? 24. Ne4 Qc7 25 Nb5 wins a piece.

24. Ncb5 Be5 25. Qxc4 Bd7 26. Rcb1 Nb6 27. Qd3 Red8 28. Qb3 Qe4 29. f4

This is a riskier move, but I wanted to get rid of that strong bishop on e5.

29... Bxd4 30. Nxd4 Re8 31. Re1 Qd5

Black was really short of time and understandably tries to simplify. But he misses a move.

32. Qxd5 Nxd5 33. Ra6! 33.. f5 34. Rd6 Nb6 35. Rb1 Bc8?

This should have allowed a powerful reply 36. Rc1 which should be winning for white. Now I make a series of terrible moves which threw away all my advantages.

36. Bf6+? Kf7 37. Nf3? Re6

I mistaken thought this was not possible due to Ng5, but now I noticed my bishop on f6!

38. Rxe6 Kxe6 39. Bd4 Nc4 40. Ng5+ Kd5 41. Rb5+ Kd6

Objectively, white still have the better of it due to his active pieces. But somehow I started playing as if I was in a daze.

42. Nxh7 a5 43. Rc5 Nd2 44. Ng5 a4 45. Nf7+ Ke6 46. Ng5+ Kd6 47. Nf7+ Ke6 48. Ng5+

I offered a draw as I did not think my position was worse. I was surprised my opponent shook his head. Surely he did not think he was actually winning?

48...Ke7 49. Rc2 Nb3 50. Bc3 Kd6 51. Nf7+ Kd5 52. Ne5 Ke4 53. Kf2 Be6 54. Nf3??

I totally did not see any of black's moves.

54... Rc8 55. Ng5+??

Last chance to hold the game was 55. Ne1

55... Kd3 56. Ra2 Rxc3 57. Rxa4

57. Nxe6 Rc2+ and the pawn queens.

Rc2+ 58. Kg3 Bd5 59. Nf3 Bxf3 60. gxf3 Kxe3 61.
Ra6 Nd4 62. Ra3+ Ke2 63. Ra6 Rc3 64. Ra2+ Ke3 65. Ra6 Ne2+ 66. Kh4 Nxf4 67. Kg5
Kxf3 68. h4 Kg3 69. Ra4 Ng2 0-1

Saturday, August 22, 2009

DATMO 2009 Round 1 Observations

Usually the first rounds are quite easy. This was not so when I walked around to observe the games. Most of the top seeds had to work for their point.

Some surprise results were:

WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan managed to hold Filipino GM Darwin Laylo to a draw. The women grandmaster was literally down to her last five seconds while Laylo had some thirty minutes. Despite her king being caught in an uncomfortable position on the edge of the board, she managed to find some good defensive moves. After ninety plus moves, it cane down to N+P versus B+P. Laylo decided to call it a day.

Yeoh Li Tian drew with FM Duc Hoa Nguyen from a winning position despite having loads of time on the clock as opposed to his opponent who was down to 2-3 minutes. This kid cannot be understimated.

Yee Weng started the tournament badly with a loss to a lesser opponent.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Malaysian Open 2009 Begins Tomorrow

The 6th Edition of the Dato' Arthur Tan Malaysian Open will start tomorrow morning at 9:00AM. Originally planned for five years from 2004 to 2008, last year should have been the last of the series. Luckily the main sponsor , Dato' Tan Chin Nam has agreed to continue this tournament, hopefully indefinitely :)

The local regulars playing are Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Ismail Ahmad. I have been playing in this event since it started in 2004. After missing last year's event due to work, I will be back this year.

Our IM Mas will not be making an appearance as he is still playing in the BDO Tournament, a 10 player round robin event. His GM quest has to wait for the next tournament. After six rounds he has one win, two draws and three losses.

No simul today (Friday 21/08/2009)

I'm sorry to say that I'm mistaken about the second simul, apparently there is not one today.

I should have realized my mistake because tonight at 9:00 PM is the players meeting for the 6th Dato Arthur Tan Open or commonly referred to as Malaysian Open, so there could not be possibly a simul in DAT Chess Centre.

The Player's Meeting will be held at the Bintang Ballroom at CitiTel Hotel in Midvalley Shopping Mall.

Torrid nights in KL

GM Gerhardt Schebler felt the Malaysian heat last night in DAT Chess Centre in Kuala Lumpur. His first simultaneous exhibition in the city resulted in three losses and two draw according to datcchess blog.

Two of my Gold IS team-mates, Abdullah Che Hassan and Faizal Andin scored against the grandmaster. The other win came from our own chess prodigy Yeoh Li Tian, son of my forthcoming team-mate in the Merdeka Rapid, NM Yeoh Chin Seng. The two draws were achieved by Kamaluddin Yusof and K.K. Chan who seems to pop up in the country whenever some chess event is going on.

There will be another simul today at the same venue i.e DAT Chess Centre in Wilayah Kompleks, Kuala Lumpur. Maybe today the grandmaster will be more cautious.

Para Games Pics

Pics from the Para Games in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur courtesy of Collin Madhavan

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chess is hazardous to your health

News came in that a Greek chessplayer passed away during a real tournament game. The deceased rated at 2200 was actually winning against his 2400+ opponent when he suffered a heart attack. His opponent, IM Dan Zoler, himself a doctor tried to revive him unsuccessfully.

I wondor what FIDE rules says about situations like this, if it does at all. Do your get awarded the game when your opponent cannot continue the game?

I felt touched reading that Zoler resigned the game. Now, that's sportsmanship.

Record haul for chess at Paralympics

Our Malaysian chess players took home eight golds, four silvers and four bronze at the Asean Para Games chess competition in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. Philippines only managed a total of nine medals while Indonesia have five.

I think this is the only chess event where we can actually do better than our neighbours. In regular chess competitions we will be no match for Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam where these countries have numerous GMs and IMs compare to our total of only four IMs.

SMS Gold takes gold

SMS Gold is the champion in the inaugural DAT Chess Centre Team League 2009. They completed their last round assignment with a clean 4-0 sweep over the women's team Persatuan Catur Wanita Malaysia (PCWM). I thought the fourth board Camila had the slightly better position and would at least hold a draw, but her inexperience cost her. She is quite a natural player and should get a coach, if she does not already have one.

The championship was decided in the two matches between the two favourites, SMS Gold and Gold IS. SMS Gold won the first match 3-1 and drew the return and this effectively decided the eventual winner as no other team was capable of creating an upset against the favourites.

Monday, August 17, 2009

4 Golds for Malaysian Paralympics chess players

Our chess paralympians has done Malaysia proud by sweeping four gold medals at the Asean Para Games chess competition.

Nur Feiqah Maulud Mohd Halil won the women's individual gold and was also in team that took gold in the women's team competition. Another gold came from the team event in physical disabled section. Meanwhile, veteran Choo Min Wang took individual gold in the partially blind section.

Malaysia is expecting six golds according to the national coach, Abdul Latif Mohammad.

The Games are being held at the Commonwealth Hall, National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil until 19th August 2009.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chess Cubed

I play online at two sites, Playchess and FreeChess. FreeChess as its name indicates is free, anyone can sign up and start playing. PlayChess is a paid site, however if you purchase ChessBase products you can get a year's free subscription.

For those not that keen on paying subscriptions, there is another free site that you can join. This is ChessCube. While other sites require a chess client installed on your PC, Chess Cube only requires a web browser. The site is run using Adobe Flash. The first time you access the site, you will be asked to install Flash if your computer does not already have it installed.

I signed up a couple of nights ago. The whole process is quite painless, after choosing a user name and password, an activation link is sent to your email. You click on the link to get activated and you are ready to play.

You can play normal chess or Chess960 which is a form of Fischer Random. The pieces on the back rank are re-shuffled randomly for every game. This is quite an interesting variation of chess for those who are fed up with memorizing standard chess openings.

You can challenge me on the server where my user is chessischess (what else)
Evan Timothy Capel - Nicholas Chan
Malaysian Masters 2009 3rdQuarterfinals (Game 2)

1. d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 c5 4.c3 h6 5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. Nbd2 cxd4 7. cxd4 Nc6 8. e3 Qd8 9 Bd3 Be7 10. 0-0 0-0 11. a3 d6 12. b4 Bd7 13. Rc1 Qb6 a6 14. Qb3 a6

I do not know what to make of this ..a6-a5.

15. d5 Ne5 16. Nxe5 dxe5 17. Nf3 axb4 18. axb4 Ba4 19. Qc3 Qxd5 20. Bc4

Looks like losing a pawn

20... Qd6

Black has the advantage with the two bishops and possibly winning a pawn after 21. Nxe5 Qxb4 22. Qxb4 Bxb4 and now 23. Rb1 Bd6 attacking the knight on e5.

White also have a problem with his pieces, especially the queen in this position can be easily harrassed by the bishops and rooks

21. Qxe5 Qxe5 22.Nxe5 Bb4 23. Nd3 Bd6 24. Rb1 Rfc8 25. Bb5 Bc2 26. Rb2 Ba3

As predicted, the white pieces are harrassed all over the place.

27. Ra2 Bb3

Black is winning

Black wins and leads two to nothing

Jaws strikes back - Summary of Game 1

Nicholas Chan is like a shark under water. He is always there even if you don't see him. And if you bat your eyelids for a sec, he's got his jaws in you. Nicholas "Jaws" Chan has just won the first game of the match against Evan Capel. Sorry, Evan, we only give names to those whom we consider the cream of Malaysian chess. So you know you have made it when you get your very own monicker. Keep trying and knock out "Jaws".

The first game started quietly, a Queen's Gambit Exchange variation. Jaws uncorked a bishop sacrifice out of the blue with 13. Bxh6. An unexpected lapse on move twenty (20. Rad1) allowed black to hit back with 20...dxe4. White played 21. Bc4 thinking he had the winning move (21.Bxe4 would retain the pawn with some advantage). Both black queen and bishop are under attack. But Jaws missed 21..Bc5+ clearing the second rank for the queen to block the subsequent check.

A further blunder 24 e6 lost the passer and black with his own passer on e4 was actually winning. Things took a dramatic change when Evan overlooked the pin on his queen and blundered a piece on his 31st move.

Nicholas takes the first game. Next game starts at 3:00 PM.

Live Commentary: Nicholas Chan - Evan Capel

Nicholas Chan - Evan Capel

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. d4 Be7 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 O-O 7. e3 b6
8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O

White should play Rc1 at the previous move or even now.

9... Ne4 10. Bf4 Nxc3 11. bxc3

Without the rook on c1, the pawn structure gets broken up and white does not have the open c-file to exert pressure on

11... h6 12. Ne5 Nd7 13. Bxh6!?

Interesting move! It does not seem at first glance that white has enough.

13... Nxe5

13...gxh6 14 Qg4+ and white wins back a piece on d7

14. dxe5 f5

Black is busted. He's a pawn down with a weakened king-side. White is now considering if 15. Qh5 is playable or just pull back the bishop with 15. Bh4 and an extra pawn.

15. Qh5 gxh6 16. f4 intends Rf3-g3, should be winning already for white. There are no defences to threats of Rf3 and Rg3

15. Bf4 g5 16. Bg3 Bc8

Black cannot play 16...f4 yet because 17. exf4 gxf4 18. Qg4+

17. f4 g4 18. Qb3 Be6 19. e4

Another nice shot. White gets rid of his backward e-pawn weakness. Evan might as well resign now.

19...Qd7 20. Rad1

Nicholas seems overly cautious now. 20. exf5 Bxf5 21 Rxf5 Qd1! followed by f5 (the pawn cannot be captured because of Qxg4+) seems very strong to me.

Maybe black can mix it up with 20...dxe4. What has he got to lose? 21. Bc4 , black has the saving move 21...Bc5+ 22. Kh1 Bxc4 23. Qxc4 Qf7. Perhaps Nicholas overlooked this possibility when he played 20 Rad1.

20...dxe4 21. Bc4 Bc5+ 22. Kh1 Bxc4 23. Qxc4+ Qf7

My prediction comes true. Black has regained the pawn at the cost of giving white a passed e-pawn.

24.e6 Qf6 25. Rd7 Rae8

Unfortunately, black has to give the c-pawn. 25..Bd6 26. e7+ Rf7 27 Bh4! Qxh4 (other moves allow Rd8+) 28. e8=Q+ Rxe8 29. Qxf7+

26.e7+ Rf7 27. Rxc7 Rexe7 28.Rc8+ Kg7

So far, black has managed to play accurately after his initial mistake of allowing Bxh6.

29. Rd1 Qe6!

Black pieces are better organized (see the white bishop on g3!). He will now force white to move his pieces to less optimal squares by threatening trades.

30. Qa6

White cannot afford to exchange queens as the black e-pawn will be a decider. With queens on, he can hope to exploit the open black king.

30...Rd7 31. Re1

Black already turned the tables after 20...dxe4. His passed e-pawn will now win the game for him. Possible moves now are 31.. Qf6 , 31...Qd6 , 31...Rd2 all very inviting.


Oh my god!

32. Rxc5

Again, black can now resign. I give the rest of the moves from DAT Chess Centre blog run by Mr "The Raj" Shirajuddin who I get the live moves from.

32... Rd2 33.Rc7+ Kg6 34.Qxa7 Rh8 35.Rg7+ Kf6 36.Rb7 Rxa2 37.Qxb6 Qxb6 38.Rxb6+ Kf7 39.c4 Rd8 40.Rf6+ Kxf6 41.Bh4+ Ke6 42.Bxd8 Rc2 43.Kg1 Rxc4 44.Bb6 Kd5 45.Kf2 Rc3 46.Be3 Ra3 47.Rd1+ Ke6 48.Bc5 Rc3 49.Rd6+ Kf7 50.Rf6+ Kg7 51.Rxf5 Rb3 52.Bd4+ Kh6 53.Re5 Ra3 54.Re8

I can feel Evan's pain. You cannot relax for even a second with Nicholas, this guy is one sharp shark

Friday, August 14, 2009

Malaysian Masters 2009 - 3rd Quarter-Final

I noticed an unusual trend in the pairings for the Malaysian Masters. Look at the matches:

IM Mas v. Tariq Amru
IM Lim Yee Weng v. NM Edward Lee
FM Nicholas Chan v. NM Evan Capel
Mok Tze Meng v. Ooi Chern Ee

With the exception of Mok v. Ooi, the rest are youth against experience. I am not sure if the pairings are done by drawing of lots or ranking by ratings. It does seem to be the latter. This gives the youngsters the chance to prove themselves. However, I think they are in for a torrid time.

Tomorrow is the 3rd Quarter-Final match between FM Nicholas Chan against newly crowned National Champion, Evan Capel. One of the primary reason that gave birth to this inaugural Malaysian Masters is that the National Closed does not attract the strongest local players. Critics can argue that the tournament does not produce a true Malaysian National champion.

Nicholas himself a two-time previous champion faces the current national champion. Sounds like a interesting match, no? However I believe it will not even be close. Evan is no match for the experienced Nicholas.

I will not be present at the match but will provide commentary as I receive the moves from fellow bloggers, Hairulov or Gilachess

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ooi still can smile

I "stole" the above picture from I know my friend Mr Shiraj will not mind because it is just too good to bypass. Picture shows Ooi still smiling after losing 3-0 to Mok.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tiger flexes claws

Malaysian Masters 2009 Update:

Mok "Crouching Tiger" Tze Meng made a perfect 3-0 sweep over Ooi "Smiling Budhha" to move into the semi-finals. Maybe Ooi regretted not perfecting his "Buddha Palm" to the 64th level before coming for this match (little joke here, maybe those who did not grow up on a diet of wuxia movies wont understand this :)

"Tiger" Mok played more consistently and really deserved to advance to the next round. This success signals he is ready to leap out of the shadows of our more illustrious players such as Yee Weng and Mas.

Quarter Final Game 3

Today I can take a break and let someone else do the "live telecast" as Mr Shiraj so
comically put it. Yes, Hairulov is now at DATCC where the 3rd game is now on-going. I'm going to "feed" off him this time :)

Ooi Chern Ee - Mok Tze Meng [A42]
Malaysian Masters 2009 (Quarter-Final)

1. d4 g6

"Tiger" Mok only have one reliable defence and this is it. I once told him he should widen his opening if he wants to reach IM. He just smiled.

2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 e5

It may be wise to avoid repeating yesterday's first game. You cannot believe Ooi did not come back with preparations.

5.Nge2 Nc6 6.Be3 Nh6

Black played 6...exd4 in the first game. Mok decides to deviate first.

7.f3 f5 8.d5 Ne7 9.Qd2 Nf7 10.g3 h5 11. h4

Otherwise Black continues ...h4 with play on the h-file.


Black needs to free some squares for his pieces at the cost of giving the white knight an excellent post on e4

12 Nxe4 Nf5 13 Bg5 ?!

Giving up this bishop is a strategical mistake. I really don't understand White's play. Now Black rules the black squares.

13...Nxg5 14. hxg5 Qe7 15. 0-0-0 Bd7 16 Bh3 0-0-0

Both sides have achieved some measure of what they set out for. White has the natural c5 break, but this needs some preparation. Black has closed the king-side and saddled white with weaknesses on the black squares and the pawn on g5.

My observation is that throughout the match , both sides have clear strategic plans in the middle-game. The reason that Mok is two points up is really due to better analysis skills. Lets see if the current game validates my observation.

17 Qd3 ?!

Why the queen goes to this square? It does not help the c5 break at all.


Mok knows this positions like the back of his hand. This is a good waiting move, bringing the king to the safety of the corner and avoiding any tactical possibilities on the h3-c8 diagonal

18. Kb1 a6

Another waiting move, but probably there is a better one. 18...h4 will show up the problems in white's positions. 19. g4 Nd4 leaves the white square bishop on h3 useless.

19. N2c3 h4! 20. g4

20. gxh4 Rxh4 and black just doubles up on the h-file


Black has the advantage now and with the two point lead, Mok can now sit pretty and wait for Ooi to take all chances.

21. Bg2 Rdf8 22. Rh3

In a normal situation, either side would offer to split the point here as it will be very risky to force matters. But white needs to win here, and we can expect some desperate measures to change the balance of the position

22...Rf7 ?!

I don't like this. Black intends to exchange the h4 pawn for f3 pawn. But while the f3 pawn might be defendable, the same cannot be said for the h4 pawn. White will choose the right time to trade into a favourable situation. 22... Rf7 23. Rdh1 Rfh8 holding the h-pawn is correct. White might try to bring another piece to attack h4 , but I am sure there are tactical reasons why this will not work.

23. Rdh1 Rhf8 24. Rf1

White can win the h4 pawn with 24. Ne2 and trading knights. Maybe he is worried about the long black diagonal e.g 24. Ne2 b6 25. Nxd4 exd4 26. Rxh4 Qe5.

24..Rh8 25. Qe3

Played to gain some time and think of the right plan? This move does nothing.


And neither does this :).
26. Rfh1 Qe8 27. Rxh4 Rxh4 28. Rxh4 Nf5. Now White can sac the exchange 29. gxf5 Rxh4 30. f6

26 Qe1 Rhf8 27. Qd1 Rh8 28. Re1 c5 ?!

Now I know I named him "Crouching Tiger" is not for nothing. Mok does not seem satisfied with just sitting on the position, even though he just needs a draw. Mok probably sees that Reh1 Qf7 keeps the status quo so why weaken the d6 pawn. I think he has a surprise up his sleeve, ....b5 is going to come at some stage and black will go on the offensive.

29. a4 b5

Not sure this is good now as the black king will be exposed after the exchanges

30. axb5 axb5 31. cxb5

Now the pawn cannot be re-taken and black remains a pawn down. 31... Bxb5? 32 Nxb5 Nxb5 33. Rd3 (Not 33 Qb3 Qb7 34 Bf1 Nc3+ 35.Kc2 Qxb3+ 36 Kxb3 Nxe4 good for black)

31...Kb7 32. Qa4 Ra8 33 Qc4 Rxe4!

As I said , "Tiger" tactics are superior to Buddha. 34 fxe4 Qxg5 picks up the g-pawn for two powerful passers

34. Nxe4 Bxb5 35 Qc3 Kb6 !?

Obviously to transfer the queen to a7 but I prefer the safer Kb8

36. Kc1 Ra4 37. Kd1 Rc4 -+ 38 Qa3 Ba4+ 39 Kd2 Rc2 40 Ke3 Qf7 ?

Probably they are in time scramble now. Another win would be 40...Rxg2 41. Qxa4 Nc2 forking the rook. The rest is easy

41. Qxa4 Qf4 42. Kd3 c4 43 Qxc4 Rxc4 44. Kxc4 Qf7
Missed another win. 44... Nc2 45 Re2 Qc1 46 Kd3 Nb4 mate!

45. Nc3 Qf4 46. Kd3 Qxg5 47. Ne4 Qe7 48. Rhh1 Qb7 49. Nc3? Qa6+ 50. Ke3 Nc2+ 51. Kf2 Nxe1 52. Rxe1 Qd3 53. Bf1 Qd4+ 54. Kg2 Qf4 55. Ne4 h3+ 56.Kf2 Qh2+ 57. Ke3 Bh6+ 58. g5 Qf4+ 59. Kf2 Bxg5 60. Ra1 Qh2+ 61. Ke1 Bh4+ 62. Kd1 Qxb2 63. Ra6+ Kc7 64. Rc6+ Kb8 65. Bxh3 Qb1+ 66. Ke2 Qe1+ 67. Kd3 Qd1+ 68. Ke3 Qe1+ 69. Kd3 Qd1+ 70. Ke3 Qe1+ 71. Kd3 Qd1+ 72. Kc4 Qe2+ 73. Kb4 Be1+ 74. Ka4 Qa2+ 75. Kb5 Qb3+ 76. Ka6 Qa4+ 77. Kb6 Qa5++ 0-1

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Buddha mauled by Tiger

"Tiger" Mok continues his winning ways in the second game of the match. The game follows a similar fashion as in the first game. Ooi builds up a promising position and "forces" Mok to play "only" best moves,sacrificing an exchange and finally mating the black king after a blunder. Its best not to push this "Tiger" to a wall!

Ooi will have to win both games tomorrow to tie the match and go into the tie-breakers. A tall order indeed although I hope Ooi can bring something else to the board tomorrow. The lop-sided results does not reflect the true difference between the two.

Second game in progress

Mok Tze Meng - Ooi Chern Ee
Malaysian Masters 2009 (Quarter-Final)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4

Mok almost only plays this variation, so it should not come as a surprise to Ooi.

5...Nc6 6. Nc3 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.a3 Nf6 9.Rb1 0-0 10. b4 Ng4 11. Ne2

Black went into a long think. White's quiet setup is designed to defuse Black's counter chances in the Sicilian. Mok clearly does not intend to rush things, he dont mind a draw to finish the day with a point ahead.

11...Nge5 12. Nxe5 dxe5 13. d3 Rfd8 14. Rb3

Live from DATCC

I'm at the DATCC at Wilayah Kompleks in Kuala Lumpur observing the current match between "Tiger" Mok and "Buddha" Ooi. This is the position on the board.

A typical Modern Defence by the Tiger but White handling is rather unusual. Pushing the h5 pawn for a king-side attack is typical of Ooi, who seems to prefer tactical play. Mok is very good at this type of situation, where he sits and waits for his opponent to try something. This is going to be interesting.

Ooi Chern Ee - Mok Tze Meng [A42]
Malaysian Masters 2009 (Quarter-Final)

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.Be3 e5 6.Nge2 exd4 7.Nxd4 Nge7 8.h4 f5 9.h5 fxe4 10.hxg6

Black is spending some time thinking on his 10th move. Already he has spent more than an hour by now, White Time: 1.10 Black Time: 0:41. Black needs to develop his queen-side and castle that side as quickly as possible.

10...Nf5 !?

Very difficult move to find and white caught by surprise now. The d4 knight is threatened, the obvious 11. Nxf5 Bxf5, the bishop defends h7 pawn and Black bishops are on very strong diagonals.

11. Nxf5 Bxf5 12. gxh7

This is critical position. The next move will decide if white's attacking h4-h5 is correct.

12... Qf6!

Time: 0:56 0:31. Black is not afraid of 13.Nd5 Qf7 and I think Black is clearly better now.

13. Nd5 Qf7 14. Qh5

White still trying to force tactics in the position. White has to concede he has lost the opening fight. It's time to batten down the hatches , start digging trenches and all that. Mok can be very dangerous in these type of positions.
Time: 0:46 0:34

14..Bg6 15. Qg5

White realizes he cannot allow black to castle. So this is the point of 14. Qh5. Mok thinking for five minutes now. White is threatening Nxc7+. 15..Ne5 should be coming next.
Time: 0:44 0:29

15...Ne5 16 0-0-0

White replies immediately. Must be trying to capitalize on his time advantage. Black still thinking how to solve his king problem. 15...c6 16 Nf4 Bf6 17. Nxg6! Nxg6 (Bxg5 18. Nxh8 Bxe3+ 19. fxe3 Qg7 20. Ng6 white wins) 18 Qg4

16..Rxh7 17. Rxh7 Bxh7 18. Be2

Mok down to 8 minutes and still thinking. White has a healthy 44 minutes on the clock
Apologies, white actually castled queen-side on 16th move.

18.. Kd7 !?

I don't like this, there will be some tactical resources based on this king position. I would play 18...Kf8. Actually , black wants to bring his rook out, preferable to g8. But 18...Kd7 might allow 19. Bh5 Qf8 (19... Bg6 20. Nxg6 Qg4+ picks up the e-pawn) 20. f4! Nd3+ 21 Rxd3 cxd3 22. Bg4+ Kc6 23. Nb4 mate or another one is 22..Ke8 23. Nc7+ Kf7 24. Be6 mate

19. Bh5 Qf8

After 20. f4 black might try 20...exf3 to avoid the above line. He then has one move to fix his problems

20. f4 exf3 21 exf3 c6

Now white will play f4. I dont think Mok has enough time left to work out the tactics

22. f4

Time : 18 minutes for white, 5 minutes for black

22... cxd5 23. fxe5 Bxe5 24. Bg4+ Kc7

Trading knights have given the black king some breathing space. Now black has another enemy...the clock! Less than 5 minutes now for black.

25. cxd5 Re8

Mission accomplished. I think White's 24th move was too hasty. Black should have no problems now except for the clock...3 minutes left...

26. Be6 ? Qxf3

watch out for those black bishops!

27. Re1 ??

isnt' it a blunder? 27.. Rxe6! 28. dxe6 Qc6+

28...Rxe6 29. Qh4

Now 29...Bxb2+ should win handily

29...Bd3! 30. dxe6 Qc6 31 Bc5 Qxc5

White hopes to win on time ??

32. Kd2 Qc2+ 33. Ke3 Bg6 34. e7

Almost over now

34.. Kd7 35.Kf3 Qf5+ 36. Kg2 Qf4 37. e8=Q Bxe8 38. Qh3 Kd8 39. Re2 Bc6 40 Kg1 Bd4 White resigns

Friday, August 7, 2009

Crouching Tiger, Smiling Buddha

On Wednesday somebody reminded me that I had not had a post for days. This proves that at least one person reads my blog and secondly, he does not have a life. Are you actually counting the days between my blogs?

Chess is a boring game to the uninitiated. You cannot appreciate it unless you know the game. This is why chess will never become a spectator sport. Imagine an audience following the game. After long minutes of thought, one of the player reaches out and moves a piece. Both players sink back into deep thought. Maybe one of them (hopefully not the one on the move), gets up and takes a stroll to the loo (thats the toilet to you less refined types). Then repeat again and again until the handshake signalling the end of the game.

What is the casual observer to make of this? Man, I'm better off watching wrestling at home on my TV in the comfort of my living room.

We need to spice things up to get more sponsors (and money) into the game. Look at pro-wrestling. In the 70s and early 80s, what we got were two big guys slugging it out in the ring in a small town school gymnasium in the good old US of A. Then along came the World Wrestling Federation and turned wrestling around. Just watch Wrestle Mania and see how the thousands of people actually paying hard earned money to watch these wrestlers muck around in a square ring.

How did the WWF (its now called WWE) did it? It made the wrestlers larger than life, giving them outrageous ring names like Hulk Hogan, Brett "Hitman" Hart and many more. There is much more to it than a name, but its a good start and I think we can copy this trick :)

I'm going to take it upon myself to come up with some board names for some of our top players. Let's start with Ooi Chern Ee and Mok Tze Meng, who are going to meet tomorrow morning for their quarter final match for the 2009 Malaysian Masters.

Naturally the name must match some characteristics of the person. If you talk to Chern Ee he is always smiling, and just being the nice guy he is. For some reason, he reminds me of the statues of buddhas at the Kek Lok Si Temple in my home town on Penang Island. OK, I call him "Smiling Buddha" Ooi Chern Ee.

His opponent is more difficult to name. Mok reminds me of a cartoon tiger in a book called "Chess for Tigers". ( If you can still find it, get this book for a good laugh). The cartoonist drew this tiger with an impossibly slim middle. Now Mok has the slimmest abdomen area I have ever seen in a male and I think he really resembles the tiger in the book.

Mok is quite an enigma. Obviously he has the chess skills but never made his IM title. Not many people remember this, but he has been carrying one or two IM norms for some years but never succeeded to achieve the final one. For some time, he has been like a tiger in the shadows waiting for his moment in the limelight. His success in the recent Penang Open where he took the championship ahead of Mas and a GM, indicates he is ready to make his move. He is a crouching tiger ready to pounce on his victims. That's right, I give you ... *drum roll* ... Mok "Crouching Tiger" Tze Meng.

So will it be "Smiling Buddha" Ooi or Mok "Crouching Tiger" Tze Meng who will emerge victorious? Catch the action at DATCC tomorrow morning and Sunday at 9:00 AM or come back here for the results on Sunday.

Nuff said!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Malaysian Masters 2009 Begins

This most interesting event could be the first of its kind in Malaysia. Eight players are chosen to play a mini-matches. Quarter and semi-finals are over four games while the final will be an eigth game affair.

The selected players are the top four on the latest FIDE rated list, the top two finishers from the recent National Championship, the current National Junior Champion and one other player to be selected by the Malaysian Chess Federation.

For the first time, some decent prize money is offered. Everyone will be assured a minimum of RM500. A losing semi-finalist can expect RM1000, the runner-up gets RM2000 and the champion RM4000.

The first matchup is between IM Mas and Junior Champion Tariq Amru which will be played yesterday and today. This is possibly the least interesting match. Mas will win by a possible score of 4-0, if they even want to play the last game. (Latest news is that Mas already won the first two games yesterday)

Next week-end we will see the most juicy matches. We will see matchups between previous and current team mates. Mok Tze Meng will play current SMS Gold team-mate Ooi Chern Ee and Lim Yee Weng goes up against Edward Lee. Both are members of the Malaysian Olympiad team to Dresden last November.

Venue for all games is the DATCC and everyone is welcome to spectate.