Thursday, September 30, 2010

Round 9 live commentary

My prediction for this round, 2.5 - 1.5 in Malaysia favour

Follow the moves here

Just got home and things looks expected.

Board 1 GM De La Riva Aguado Oscar - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi

Mas has lost a pawn and in a bad way now. He should be losing.

Mas exchanges into a rook ending where he will be two pawns down. Still it is the best chance for draw.

Board 2 IM Mok Tze-Meng - FM Simonet Marc
Black plays the French and Mok choose the Tarrasch. 8. c4 is a bit unusual. Normally white will play against the isolated black q-pawn but now the pawn will be exchanged. 8.dxc5 is the normal move.

Slightly better for Mok, hopefully he can do something because Khai Boon is lost.

7:58 PM: Mok ended with opposite colored bishops and unlikely to win now

Board 3 FM Garcia Raul - Tan Khai Boon

Khai Boon plays Benoni Defence. 10...Nh5 instead of castling lost him a pawn. It looks very bad for him.

Actually Khai Boon is very lost and he can resign except being a team tournament, he cannot just give up as it is bad for morale of the team-mates.

Board 4 FM Long Peter - Santamaria Vicens
Peter looks like having a good position. Black is in trouble for example if 13...Bg6 14. e5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Bxb7 wins.


Khai Boon is lost, Peter is winning. Mok has an optical advantage - looks good for him, winning is another matter. Mas in a bad way. Looks like we are losing 1.5-2.5

8:02 PM: Khai Boon resigns, Peter wins.

8:14 PM: Mok draws 1.5-1.5 for both teams now. Mas might hold his position for a draw.

8:42 PM: Looks like Mas lost on time. Malaysia loses 1.5-2.5

Board 1 Alia - GM Peng

Good news here. Alia is holding her own against the GM. Maybe even slightly better game for her.

If she can draw this game, her WIM norm chances are very good.

Alia's position is better than I first thought. The grandmaster should be sweating now ....

26. Ba1 and 27. Rh4 with strong attack

Black plays 26...Qf8. If 26...b5 to trap the bishop , she could run into 27. Qh6 with Rh4 to follow. White has a strong attack with 27.Rh4 now

Both sides very short of time now and still a long way to go to move 40. Someone is bound to make a losing mistake.

White should play 30 Qd3 now to avoid the bishop on a6 being trapped by ...b5

It looks like a draw in this game will give Alia the norm already.

White made mistake with 30.Be2 allow black to take control of the c-file with 30...Rbc8. Now black has the advantage

Both reaches the 40 move. Alia down a pawn now and black pieces become active. Black should win now.

Black missed some easy wins. Now Alia might have a chance. 59...Kg6 60.Qd3+ could be a perpetual.

Too bad she blundered and lost now.

Roslina playing good in time trouble...

Round 9 board pairing for Malaysia

 89  Andorra (AND)Rtg  85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 GM De La Riva Aguado Oscar 2521   IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2422 
 FM Simonet Marc  2277   IM Mok Tze-Meng  2416 
 FM Garcia Raul 2236   Tan Khai Boon 2160 
 Santamaria Vicens  2085   FM Long Peter  2302 
 72  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg  19  Netherlands (NED)Rtg
 Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904   GM Peng Zhaoqin 2400 
 WCM  Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829   IM Lanchava Tea  2342 
 Wahiduddin Nurul Huda 2020   WIM Schut Lisa 2288 
 Marmono Roslina  1933   WIM Van Weersel Arlette  2174 

The men is taking no chances and field their top four players.

Our women will have a very difficult task to match with the Netherlands who are seeded 19. The team - especially Alia who is in line for a norm - have nothing to lose so any points they can score will be considered a success

Alia have chance for WIM norm

I was checking Alia's results and quite pleasantly surprised. She managed to win her last five games!

Furthermore she is holding six points from eight games. There is a possibility for her to get a first WIM norm. A quick check shows that she is short of either 1 point or 0.5 point (because of the possibility of dropping two games from the computations, it is not easy to work out the exact total points she requires).

If she wins or draws her game today against Netherlands then she will have achieved the norm. Even a loss is alright as long as she gets another point in the remaining two rounds against 2200 rated opponent. The possibility is very good and she has to watch who her last two opponents are. It will be wise to rest against unrated or lowly rated players.

Round 9 pairing for Malaysia

Round 9 pairs the men against Andorra who have a GM on first board. After the experiment yesterday which give everyone some anxious moments in the match, I am sure neither Mok nor Mas will ever rest again. They will play the remaining three games.

The big question is whether to rest Khai Boon. His game is not matured and when he loses it is without any fight. He just loses.

Peter Long is very steady so far. He does not win often but he don't lose often either. He is on fifty percent with two wins, four draws and two losses.

And what of Gregory Lau? Last night he turned hero for Malaysia by winning a crucial last game to give Malaysia the match points. I already said much earlier that he is not that bad. He cannot hold against stronger opponents but against similar strenght or lower than him, he can be effective.

Read Rationality take on the round. I did thought the match was lost at some point.

If I were to decide, I will rest Khai Boon and see how Greg fares again. Not that I trust Greg skill more, but I trust Khai Boon less. Greg should have equal chance against the Andorrans.

The women team also won last night and surprisingly get to play against Netherlands. Netherlands have Chinese grandmaster Peng Zhaoqin on board one and IMs on all other boards. They are in the top twenty seeding.

It turns out they only have eight match points same as Malaysia. Actually it means our women are doing quite well! Other Asian teams with the same points are Philippines and Singapore.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Round 8 winning round for Malaysia

 114  Sri Lanka (SRI)Rtg 1.5-2.5 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
  Perera W C C 2016  0-1 IM Mok Tze-Meng  2416 
  Koggala W S V K  2026  1-0   Tan Khai Boon  2160 
  Weerawardane R 2165  0.5-0.5 FM Long Peter  2302 
  Anuruddha G C  2144  0-1   Gregory Lau  2159 
 81  United Arab Emirates (UAE) Rtg1.5-2.5  72  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 WIM Saleh Nora Mohd 1906  0-1  Bakri Alia Anin Azwa  1904 
 WFM  Al-Zarouni Kholoud Essa  1890  0-1 WCM  Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
 WIM Al-Harmoudi Mona 1821  0.5-0.5  Marmono Roslina  1933 
 WFM  Al Ali Amna Nuaman  1752  1-0   Fong Mi Yen  1905 

Both men and women won their matches by the same score 2.5-1.5.

Mok won and Peter drew what could have been a losing game when he lost an exchange. Things were not looking good when Khai Boon found himself mated.

This left the last game by Gregory who had to win to secure the match. This he did after some inaccurate play from his opponent and Malaysia narrowly squeaked past a team which normally we should easily beat.

Our women also did very well to beat United Arab Emirates who on paper were the favourite to win the match. Alia and Nabila won their games and Roslina held the draw to give Malaysia the match.

A very good day indeed :)

Round 8 Malaysia live commentary

Follow the live games here

My prediction is 4-0 for Malaysia!

Board 1 Perera W C C - IM Mok Tze-Meng

Mok gets another black, no prizes for guessing the opening.

Ah...Mok surprises everyone and plays 1...e5. The game goes into a Two Knights Defence but Mok plays 5...Ne4 instead of the normal 5...d5. Is it a prepared line or he just do not know the opening?

7:37 PM: Mok is piece up so no surprises here.

Board 2 Tan Khai Boon - Koggala W S V K

5.Nbd2 is not exactly the best way to play this position. White gets problems on the e1-a5 diagonal and lose some control over the centre.

6.e4!? can we really give pawns like this in the opening? 6...Nxe4 7. b4 Qxb4 looks ok for black. 8. Rb1 is good for white

7:37 PM: Wow what happened here? Khai Boon has queen for two rooks.

8:26 PM: After exchanging of minor pieces, the rooks will have control of the game. Khai Boon may be already lost here.

8:31 PM: 29...Bc3 is a winning move. 30. Qxc2 Bd4+ wins the white queen.

Board 3 Weerawardane R - FM Long Peter
Peter uses a Blumenfeld Gambit, a form of Benko Gambit where white does not immediately accept the pawn. They have now reached the starting position of the Blumenfled. Black will use his strong pawn centre to compensate for the sacrificed pawn.

Peter has a perfect Blumenfeld, can expect him to score today.
7:34 PM: Peter has strong attack but exchange down. But he should be winning already.

7:46 PM: Peter settles for a draw. It turns out that 43...Nf3+ is not working because 44. Rxf3 Rxf3 45. Bxe4+ is check!

Board 4 Gregory Lau - Anuruddha G C

This looks like the most even contest judging from their ratings. I think Greg can pull this one off. He's not that bad a player. I think.

This line in the Fianchetto Variation with ..Bg4, black aims to attack the d4 pawn and weaken it. White has to play accurately. Black can follow up with ...Nd7 and sometimes ...e5 to attack the pawn.

7:36 PM: This do not look good at all. The white king is a bit exposed due to g-pawn exchanged off.

8:33 PM: 40...Nxa4 and Greg is in trouble. 41. Nxc7 Nc3 should be close to winning for black.

8:49 PM: 41...Rc8 not the best. White now back in the game , 42. Rxc5 Nxc5 43. Nd5 with chances.

9:00 PM: Greg missed his chance. After 42...dxc5 he should have tried 43. Qg4 Rxc7? 44 Rb8+ Kg7 45. Qd7+ winning!

9:17 PM: Greg actually have a winning position now!

7:38 PM:
Both Peter and Mok should win. Greg might lose due to king position. Khai Boon is not so clear.

7:47 PM: Peter just drew. Now pressure on the other three to deliver two points.

8:14 PM: Mok clearly winning now. Gregory still in some trouble and likely to remain so. Mok's opponent resigns, 1.5-0 to Malaysia now

8:27 PM: Khai Boon can only hope for a draw at best. Which means Greg must win now for Malaysia to win the match.

8:34 PM: At this point I have to say we will lose the match 1.5-2.5

8:46 PM: Khai Boon loses. 1.5-1.5 now

9:18 PM: Strangely we will win this match 2.5-1.5, as Greg is winning

Round 8 board pairings for Malaysia

 114  Sri Lanka (SRI)Rtg   85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
  Perera W C C 2016    IM Mok Tze-Meng 2416 
  Koggala W S V K  2026     Tan Khai Boon  2160 
  Weerawardane R 2165    FM Long Peter 2302 
  Anuruddha G C  2144     Gregory Lau  2159 
 81  United Arab Emirates (UAE) Rtg   72  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 WIM Saleh Nora Mohd 1906     Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904 
 WFM  Al-Zarouni Kholoud Essa  1890    WCM  Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
 WIM Al-Harmoudi Mona 1821     Marmono Roslina 1933 
 WFM  Al Ali Amna Nuaman  1752     Fong Mi Yen  1905 

Mas takes a rest and allow Gregory Lau to see his first action. There is little risk for Sri Lanka cannot possibly pose any problems to our team.

The women play an interesting team , United Arab Emirates, that features two international masters and two FIDE masters. However their ratings do not reflect their titles. I suggest the girls forget about those two letters and go all out for the win.

On the main event, Ukraine has emerged top dog. They lead with thirteen match points, one ahead of Russia 1. Today the two teams meet in a "Clash of the Titans". Kramink versus Ivanchuk on board one will be one to watch. Ivanchuk has scored 100% in his games so far.

Armenia , two time winner in the last two olympiads, only managed eleven match points - two full points behind. There is still hope yet for them if Russia manages to take down Ukraine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Round 7 Malaysia loses to IPSC

 86  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg 1-372 ICSC (ICSC)Rtg
IM Mas Hafizulhelmi  2422 0-1GM  Gruenfeld Yehuda 2464 
IM  Mok Tze-Meng  2416 0-1 IM  Collutiis Duilio  2447 
  Tan Khai Boon 2160  1-0  Klasan Vladimir  2393 
FM  Long Peter  2302  0-1   Parfenov Pavel  2242 
106 Pakistan (PAK)Rtg 0-474 Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
  Nida Mishraz Siddiqui 1796  0-1 WCM Bakri Alia Anin Azwa  1904 
  Wasif Zenobia  0  0-1   Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
  Begum Ghazala 0  0-1  Marmono Roslina  1933 
  Shakir Ayman  0  0-1   Fong Mi Yen  1905 

A number of unwanted firsts today :)

Mas lost his first game. First 1-3 score. First time that Khai Boon won and the rest lost! Ok, enough already.

Bright side from the women's - they shut out Pakistan 4-0.

Round 7 Malaysia live commentary

Follow the moves here

Well, I just got back home and things have really started heating up.

Board 1 IM Mas - GM Gruenfeld Yehuda

Mas has pawn majority on the queen-side. He has a weakness on b4 though. Black d6 pawn is weak but white cannot attack it. I would rate tihs as equal.

8:11PM: This game looks like going to be drawn due to perpetual check. Mas will not dare to move his king to h3.

8:21 PM: Black declines the perpetual, he is trying for win

8:24PM 40. f3 is a nice tactic from black, maybe missed by Mas. ...f2+ queens the pawn.

Board 2 IM Collutiis Duilio - IM Mok Tze Meng

It is another Mokdern! Dont he get tired?
After 10...e5, black will be left with a isolated e-pawn which will be the cause of his problems later.

Ah...Mok plays better than me here. 11...f5 solves the problem of the e-pawn.

Mok has two strong bishops. White just played the trick 21. Bc2, 21..Qxc4? 22. Rxe6 Rxe6 23. Rxe6 Qxe6 24. b4 chasing the knight and threaten to pin the queen with 25.Bb3

Mok living on the edge ; 21...Kf7!?

25. Ne4 looks like a very good move. 25...Be5 26. Nd6+! Qxd6 27. Rxe5 with clear plus for white.

8:08PM: Mok is now in trouble on the long black diagonal. He could get mated or lose material soon.

Board 3 Tan Khai Boon - Klasan Vladimir

Khai Boon reaches a standard position in a Semi-Slav.

14. f4 is not a good idea. The pawn is better on f3 to support the e4 pawn and shut out the black queen bishop.

Opposite sides castling with black opting for queen-side. Khai Boon chances for attack on the queen-side is better as the b-file already opened.

24. Rxf4 is not the correct way to re-capture. 24. Qf5+ followed by 24. Qxf4 is better.
Watch out for 24...Qe3 by black now. Black opts for 24...Be7. What's wrong with 24...Qe3 threatening 25...Rd2

Now 26. Qe6 Qc6 27. Bf3 idea 27...Qxe5 28. Rxb7+!

7:36 PM: I'm not very good at predicting Khai Boon's moves :) 26. Qg6 goes for the g-pawn at the cost of allowing the black queen to come alive. 26..Qe3 27. Re4 Qxc3 28. Qxg7 Rde8 (only move) and now 29. exf6 black can just answer 29...Qxf6. Hope Khai Boon did not overlook this.

8:08PM: Black played 26..Qc5? effectively letting white off the hook and getting into a difficult position as well

Board 4 Parfenov Pavel - FM Peter Long

White avoids a Benko by declining to play c4. But Peter plays ...b5 anyway.
White sacrifices his b2 pawn, but I do not see why black cannot accept. 6...Qxb2 7. Nxa4 Qb4+ 8. c3 Qa5 is possible. White has to prove he has some compensation for the pawn.

White is giving pawns left and centre. Peter two pawns up now but king-side un-developed and king in the centre. Despite knight exchanges, it still looks dangerous for Peter.

7:40 PM: Peter gives back a pawn (its almost forced) and now his king will be exposed in the centre. This is not good.

8:28PM: Peter is lost now. His opponent actually missed the simpler win with 40. Rf5

Mas and Khai Boon still in opening stage, not clear yet what will happen. Mok has solved his opening problem and can look forward to a middle-game struggle. Peter grabs a pawn. It is still too early to say if white can exploit the black queen position. Personally I prefer black.

This looks like it can become an interesting match. All our players have chances to win (or lose depending on how you look at it :)

8:12PM: At this stage, I predict Mas to draw, Mok and Peter to lose and Khai Boon to win.

8:20PM : Mok just lost followed by Mok. Looks like Mas is also lost so its over.

8:45PM: Ladies team will win 4-0 against Pakistan

Rationality comments on Mok's ending

First GM had a post on my analysis of this ending.

I read Rationality's comments on this post and I am very impressed by his thoughts. He wrote with such clarity that I just have to re-publish it here for everyone's benefit, with my own notes which I put in bold

Rationality says:
The win is not easy to see. Someone who has been playing the whole game and not an individual position tends to miss wins that don't look forced, which was the case in this endgame.

Me: Also read the third paragraph

The winning move, 48.Nd6+ was counter-intuitive. It gives black the option to play Kf4-g3, although with calculation it will prove to be losing. The idea behind it is not obvious either. The first instinct would be to attack the b6 pawn; the follow-up, Ne3 is not an easy move to see and might not even come under consideration.

Me: In positions with knight versus bad bishop, the instinct is not to place the knight on the same color square as the bishop (because of the possibility of being exchanged). That is why Ne3 is not easy to see at all.

Given the position at hand and asked to find a win, anyone could do that. The problem is that Mok has been playing the entire game. To search for a forced win rather than make moves to improve you position is not easy. In other words, Mok was making strategic rather than calculative moves. You see, 48.Nd6 would not be a good move if it was not winning. Mok wanted to improve his worst placed piece, namely the king, and picked the most obvious choice.

To search for a win on every move is not feasible since it is time consuming, and obviously you tend to overspend your time when you try to find a non-existent win.

In short, the reason Mok missed the win was not because he didn't have the technical strength to calculate it through to the end. In fact, if you told him there was a forced win in the position, he would have found it within a short while. Rather, the reason for him to miss the win was because he did not sense that there was an opportunity to win that position. This is one of the many things that make the good and great different.

Me: Which leads to the question - when should we stop and tell ourselves - "There must be something here".

The player is at the board from move one. He is analysing many lines and ideas. This lines and ideas persist to the current position and does affect his current analysis and judgement. This is "baggage" in a sense. If you clear your mind of this baggage, you might see things you did not notice before. There are countless times when I get up from the board to go to the washroom. Half way there I start seeing lines and ideas which were hidden to me when I was sitting at the board.

Round 7 board pairings for Malaysia

 86  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg  72 ICSC (ICSC)Rtg
IM Mas Hafizulhelmi  2422  GM  Gruenfeld Yehuda 2464 
IM  Mok Tze-Meng  2416   IM  Collutiis Duilio  2447 
  Tan Khai Boon 2160     Klasan Vladimir 2393 
FM  Long Peter  2302     Parfenov Pavel  2242 
106 Pakistan (PAK)Rtg  74 Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
  Nida Mishraz Siddiqui 1796    WCM Bakri Alia Anin Azwa  1904 
  Wasif Zenobia  0     Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
  Begum Ghazala 0     Marmono Roslina 1933 
  Shakir Ayman  0     Fong Mi Yen  1905 

Mas gets another grandmaster, his fourth. Earlier I thought that a grandmaster norm was already impossible due to the low ratings of some of his opponents. However I found a clause in the regulations - "A player may ignore his game(s) against any opponents he has defeated, provided he has met the required mix of opponents, and provided that this leaves him with at least the minimum number of games as in 1.41, against the required mix of opponents. Nonetheless, the full cross-table of the event must be submitted." .

What this means is that Mas can drop the two lowest rated opponents he has defeated provided that he plays all eleven rounds. Based on his current score, he is therefore still on track for a grandmaster norm. He has already played two low rated players. So he will need to continue meeting 2400+ players. This is where the team factor comes in. If the team keeps losing, they will meet lower ranked teams and the ratings will not be high enough.

Based on some of my calculations, Mas needs at least three out of the last five rounds to have a chance, plus the opponent's rating should be sufficiently high.

For the record, no player for the mens team has ever made even an IM norm in the history of our participation in the olympiads.

For the women's team, Roslina steps in to replace Nurul Huda. The strategy is to give all the newcomers as many games as possible for exposure and the two older players alternating. Quite sensible.

Round 7 Malaysian pairings

After their 4-0 win yesterday, our men is paired with the ICSC (which stands for International Committee for Silent Chess). This is quite a good team with one grandmaster and two international masters. After the easy round yesterday, our players will be thoroughly tested again.

Two years ago we lost to the IPCA (International Physical Disabled Chess Association) . That team featured four international masters and we lost narrowly 1.5-2.5. This time IPCA has grandmaster Thomas Luther - the same Luther who was in Malaysia for the K.L. Open recently .

Olympiads traditionally is a competition amongst nations. Then FIDE started admitting teams like IBCA (Blind Association), IPCA and ICSC. This teams have an unfair advantage. They can pick the strongest players from any country as long as they belong to that particular association. What next? A team of chess problem composers? Maybe I can form an assocation of right-handed chess players and submit a team for the next olympiad.

Meanwhile our women meet Pakistan who only have a single rated player. It is a certainty the women will be able to gain back some match points.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Malaysian men wins 4 - 0, Women loses to Ecuador

 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg 4-0118 San Marino (SMR)Rtg
IM Mas Hafizulhelmi  2422 1-0  Berardi Giancarlo 0 
IM  Mok Tze-Meng  2416 1-0 CM  Grassi Enrico  2053 
 Tan Khai Boon 2160  1-0 Cecchetti Roberto  1930 
FM  Long Peter  2302 1-0 CM Righi Ezio  2116 
72 Malaysia (MAS)Rtg 1-338 Ecuador (ECU)Rtg
 WCM Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904  1-0 IM Fierro Baquero Martha L  2368 
 Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829  0-1 WIM  Vasquez Ramirez Rocio  2227 
 Wahiduddin Nurul Huda 2020  0-1 WIM Moncayo Romero Evelyn  2127 
 Fong Mi Yen  1905  0-1  Romero Echeverria Abigail  2058 

Round 6 Malaysia live commentary ( Round 6 started )

During the rest day yesterday, Malaysian team took part in a run "Nations Cross". Some of our players featured on the official site photos.
Mok looking happy and ready for battle after this rest!
Malaysian flag proudly held up, is that Mas?

Board 1 WCM Bakri Alia Anin Azwa - IM  Fierro Baquero Martha L

Alia has an extra pawn but opponent has two bishops versus two knights for compensation. Alia winning now

Board 2 WIM Vasquez Ramirez Rocio - Nur Nabila Azman Hisham

Nabila omitted playing ...d6 and allow white to move his pawn to e5. Furthermore black has castled king-side and now white going for the crass 6.h4 attack. It can get very nasty if black is not careful. Nabila position looking very bad now.

Nabila should be losing this game.She did.

Board 3 Wahiduddin Nurul Huda - WIM Moncayo Romero Evelyn
Nurul Huda has the edge here but still plenty of play left in the position. Our player is in some trouble here and likely to lose.

Board 4 Romero Echeverria Abigail  - Fong Mi Yen

Mi Yen opponent play a strange looking Scotch Opening (5.Nb3!?). Mi Yen mixing it up with 9...Qxb2? Did she overlooked that after 10. Bxb6 white will fork on c7?
The game already looks lost for Mi Yen as she has no compensation for the sacrificed rook.

Mi Yen actually survived to an endgame which is quite an achievement. She has N v R with an outside passed pawn on the queen-side but her knight is somewhat trapped. She should lose this.She just did.

Mens Matches 

The first board for San Marino is an unrated player. So far he played three games and lost all three. I guess they are using him as a sacrifice. Still they field him against Mas and hope to snatch points from the lower board.

Mok plays Mokdern as usual :)

Peter plays against the same variation that Mok used against Bolivia. Maybe he will show how to beat weaker player with  it :) . Peter somehow transposes the position into one similar to a Modern Defence where black equalizes easily.

All the mens games look good after the opening. Peter steadily improving his position, clearly better now. I won't be surprised if he is the first to pocket a point.

Carlsen played a strange looking Modern with his knight on h5. Adams could take on h5 with bishop and win a pawn but did not. Instead he choose to play normally and transpose back to more traditional position. A bluff from Carlsen? Or he is playing chess on an entirely different dimension?

Peter has won and also Mas too giving us a 2-0 lead. We only need a draw from Mok or Khai Boon.

Mok opponent just blundered a piece so the match is won irrespective of Khai Boon's result.

Khai Boon took advantage of his opponent's time shortage to score his first win and make it 4-0.

My take on the men team

First of all, let me just qualify by saying that I did not have any chance to talk to anyone on the team. These are my personal opinions only and really, only someone who is there will know if I am right.

Both Hamid and Greg wants to be in Khanty-Mansiysk. Before the team left, Greg was supposed to be the reserve and Hamid the captain. But at the actual accreditation, Greg is now the Captain and (I guess) Hamid is a Delegate.

As a recognized delegate to the General Assembly, Hamid has full board and lodgings free. The hosting country also provides board and lodgings for another six persons for both men and women - five players and one captain. MCF could actually send another player and Greg could still assume his captain role. Why did MCF not do so? Or did MCF try hard enough?

In my opinion, the team is severely handicapped by the lack of a real reserve player.

Both Mas and Mok does not have confidence in the third and fourth players and they have even less in Greg. In their minds, one of them must win at the very least to have any chance of winning the match. Their games are invariably the last to finish due to having to cope with the strongest players on the opposing team. Most of the time they are spending 4-5 hours every game. This is very tiring for them and Mok in particular as he is the older of the two.

If you are following their games in the Bolivia match you will see the signs. You could not believe that it is Mas playing in that game. Compare the earlier games against Adams, Pelletier and Rozentalis and you will see the difference. It seems like he was just pushing pieces in the opening and quickly got into trouble. He had no chance after that as his opponent just sat on his superior position and refused to take any chances.

Look at Mok's game. He held a slight advantage up to the middle-game. Then he had a lapse of concentration and in danger of losing a pawn. He played a move like Re2 (losing move, he probably could still hold on to the pawn with axb6 followed by Qa4 or something like that - sorry if I am mistaken as I do not have the game in front of me right now) and followed up with gxf4? (Rxf4 is the only move to survive) exposing his king and in another couple of moves it was over. He must be really tired in that game.

There is no doubt that Khai Boon earned his place on the team. However he is disappointing so far. He salvaged two draws both of which he looks lost, to remain without a win and one point out of five games. He has to up his game otherwise he will be a hindrance to the team.

Peter Long is playing to his rating. He did well to hold two strong IMs to draws. In the fifth round against Bolivia he played the Benko Gambit to win. Unfortunately, his opponent was up to the task and did not give him the chances that he sought. But he is on the last board , probably at Khai Boon's expense, and he must win some games.

In my opinion and provided that Greg is listed as a reserve and we are not just a four man team, I think Mas and Mok must be given a rest at some point. That means between rounds seven to ten (there is a free day before the last round) they must take turns to rest for one round, if we meet a team that we know we have no chance to beat. At least they will be in better shape for the rest of the rounds. Yes, it is a calculated risk but extra-ordinary measures have to be taken in extra-ordinary situations.

Round 6 Board pairings for Malaysia

 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg 118 San Marino (SMR)Rtg
IM Mas Hafizulhelmi  2422  Berardi Giancarlo  0 
IM  Mok Tze-Meng  2416  CM  Grassi Enrico  2053 
 Tan Khai Boon 2160   Cecchetti Roberto 1930 
FM  Long Peter  2302  CM  Righi Ezio  2116 
72 Malaysia (MAS)Rtg 38 Ecuador (ECU)Rtg
 WCM Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904   IM Fierro Baquero Martha L  2368 
 Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829   WIM Vasquez Ramirez Rocio  2227 
 Wahiduddin Nurul Huda 2020   WIM Moncayo Romero Evelyn  2127 
 Fong Mi Yen  1905   Romero Echeverria Abigail  2058 

There is no change in the line-up from previous round. For our mens team, they need to win this badly so there is no question about who will play.

The women team maintain the winning line-up from round five. As the saying goes, "if it aint broke, dont fix it". I think it is a wise saying.

The womens match looks like a more interesting match. They go up against a team with three titled players. The first board is a full IM (means it is a mens International Master) while the second and third board are Women International Master. Perhaps I will do commentary on the women this time :)

A day at the Olympiad

If you are following the comments (shoutbox) in the various local blogs, you might think that our players are having the time of the life with a paid holiday. That is not entirely true. Here is a typical day at the last olympiad - for me at least. You might be surprised how little time there is for yourself.

I usually wake up around 7:00 AM in Malaysia. Due to time difference I actually woke up around 4:30 AM in the Dresden olympiad. Only after a few days I started to get up at a more natural hour.

By 8:00 AM, I am ready for breakfast, usually I am the first one. By now the team pairings will already be posted up in the hotel lobby. The rest of the team will be coming into the dining hall. We start to discuss the line-up for the day. By the end of breakfast we have agreed on who will be resting and the team captain can submit the board order.

Then it is back to the room and fire up the database. We do not know yet the exact board pairings until after lunch. So at this time I have to check possible opponent's games. I will decide on the opening I will play for the round. Then check again the opponent's games in this opening. I start to look at specific variations based on what I think my opponent's playing style and look for new ideas. Chessbase is invaluable for this purpose.

This goes on till 12:30 PM when it is almost lunch time and we start calling other team-mates rooms. The team will have lunch together. After lunch, it is back to the room and fine tune the preparations as by now the opposing player will be known. I will take a short half hour nap and by 2:00 PM all of us have to be ready to leave for the playing hall.

The rounds start at 3:00 PM so everyone have to be present because of zero start - if you are not seated at your board when the gong sounds for the start of the round, you lost the game without a single move made.

If I finish early or rested for the round, it is worse because I have to watch the team's games and willing them to make THAT move. Usually it is too much and I have to take a walk around the hall to watch other games or visit the various stalls selling over-priced chess equipment and books.

By 8:00 PM all the games are usually finished and we can finally make our way to the dining hall (dinner is served outside the hotel). After dinner, a tram ride back to the hotel.

By now it is almost 10:00 PM, the day is not over yet. The game for this round have to be entered into my personal database. I will analyze the game as it is still fresh in my mind. I have been doing this since my early chess playing days. I think this ritual is important to get a form of closure. There are so many things running through my head - moves I missed, blunders feeling the downside of a lost. I need to do this to be able to focus on the next game.

By now it is almost midnight and time to get into bed because tomorrow the whole thing will repeat again. The only exception is the two rest days which we will spend doing sight-seeing to take the mind off chess.

Round 6 Pairing for Malaysia

Men team paired with San Marino and womens with Ecuador.

Men's team is at a high low - if you can get that little joke :)

We now have countries like San Marino and a host of African countries like Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Kenya and so on, for company.

We have and should win this match although I said the same for Bolivia and we actually lost.

Our women will have a tougher time. Ecuador actually have one full international master and two women international masters on their first three boards.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rest day for olympians

Today is a rest day for both the men and women olympiad. Round six will continue tomorrow, Monday 27th September 2010.

Altogether there are two rest days.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Round 5 Malaysia loses to Bolivia???

We can draw with Lithuania who fielded three grandmasters and one international master. But we can lose to Bolivia?

I'm trying to think of a worse upset in our history of participating in the olympiads. I cannot think of one. I think this is it.

So what next? Shrug it off. There is another six rounds to go. And tomorrow is another day.

 104  Bolivia (BOL)Rtg 2.5-1.5 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 FM Gemy Jose Daniel 2325  0.5-0.5 IM Mas Hafizulhelmi  2422 
  Mendoza Rodrigo  2124  1-0 IM  Mok Tze-Meng  2416 
  Angulo P Carlos 2210  0.5-0.5  Tan Khai Boon  2160 
 WIM Estrada Lucia  2035  0.5-0.5 FM  Long Peter  2302 
 76  Iraq (IRQ)Rtg 1-3 72  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 WIM Ibrahim Delbak Ismael 1954  0-1  Bakri Alia Anin Azwa  1904 
 WFM  Mohammed Qane jannar Worya  1906  0.5-0.5 WCM  Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
 WCM Kareen Jalaluldeen 1790  0.5-0.5  Wahiduddin Nurul Huda  2020 
  Ismael Maha  1861  0-1   Fong Mi Yen  1905 

Round 5 Malaysia live commentary

As usual I only provide commentary. Go here for live games.

Mas and Mok should win their games so we only need a minimum draw from the two bottom boards to take the match points.

Round 5 started

Board 1 FM Gemy Jose Daniel - IM Mas

Mas exchanges his black square bishop for the knight on c3. It weakens the white pawns on c3 and c4 at the cost of giving his good bishop.

Mas is going to miss his black squared bishop, he could be in for a spot of trouble.

Things really started happening since I left. Mas as I expected got into some problems and had to sac a pawn which I think he will get back. I think white has to play 27. h5 now to close the h-file

White has weak c-pawns so I expect Mas to turn this game around.

7:37 PM: Mas declined to take back his pawn. No doubt taking the pawn will allow the white pieces to become very active 27...gxh5 28. f4 h4 29. Nf6 and the knight lands on f6.

I expect him to be in trouble soon.

8:00 PM: Mas repeating moves now. A second look at the position shows that white cannot lose unless he tries to win.

8:15 PM: Mas manages to make the time control at move forty. Now he will try to put his king on h6.

8:34 PM: Draw agreed

Board 2 IM Mok Tze Meng - Mendoza Rodrigo

Mok plays the Two Knights variation of the Caro-Kann. White gets the bishop pair and black solves his opening problems.

White does not look like that much better but the two bishops will win the game in the long run.

One pair of bishop exchanged, Mok has some pressure but correct play is going to give black the draw.

8:16 PM: Mok has improved his position with a strong bishop against knight and weak black pawns on the queen side, he has good winning chances.

8:33 PM: Mok seems to have made some blunders because now he is in danger of losing

8:43 PM Mok faces unavoidable mate in one. Unbelievable. If the clocks are correct, it was his opponent that was in time trouble.

Board 3 Angulo P Carlos - Tan Khai Boon

Khai Boon faces a slightly higher rated opponent at 2210. Still this is his best chance to score his first win.

Khai Boon is in trouble on the open d-file and might lose a piece to the pin. But I think I see some tactics to prevent this.

7:40PM: Khai Boon plays 17...Ra7 the only move. But he is very short of time (less than 9 minutes on the clock) and forty moves still very far off.

7:47PM: After 17..Ra7 18. Bc4 Rd7 white cannot take the a6 pawn 19. Bxa6 Nxc1 and black regains the pawn on b2.

8:07 PM: 19...h5? is just a desperate move in time trouble. 20.Qxh5?? Nf4 wins the exchange. White can just play 20.Qf5 and gain a clear advantage. Black will just lose a pawn for nothing.

8:20 PM: Khai Boon's position is lost

8:29 PM: White seems to have misplayed his position. Now Khai Boon managed to exchange to opposite coloured bishops with a pawn down.

Board 4 FM Peter Long - WIM Estrada Lucia

Peter faces off with a Woman International Master. He should be able to win though one must never understimate an opponent. Here's an interesting tidbit - in his younger days, Peter once beat former world champion Xie Jun. In a real tournament game, not a simul.

I thought Peter might continue playing a Catalan but after 5. b3 , it looks like he does not want to test his opponents opening preparation.

Peter has a slight advantage out of the opening, his two bishops supports his centre pawn nicely.

Peter pieces are now poorly co-ordinated. He already pushed his g-pawn to g4 and this created weaknesses on his dark squares.

7:41 PM: Peter is repeating moves which signalling intention to split the point.

7:52 PM: Peter draws

Current situation does not look that good.

7:42 PM: Looks like I'm right again. Mas will have to win from his bad position. Mok has pressure and have to win also. I think Khai Boon will lose because of his time trouble. Peter's opponent have the choice to repeat or play for the win.

8:10 PM: There is a real possibility of losing this match or at best drawing. I expect Khai Boon to lose and Mas to draw. Mok's game will decide.

8:23 PM: On the women's side, Mi Yen winning, Nabila possible draw, Alia position worse, Nurul Huda possible draw so either a win or draw for them.

8:30 PM: Khai Boon might hold in an opposite coloured bishop position. Things are improving.

8:34 PM: Maybe I spoke too soon because when I checked Mok's board it looks like he is losing all of a sudden. Maybe some careless moves or he understimated his opponent's attacking chances. So we are in danger of losing this match

8:39 PM: Alia has turned the tables and now winning so the women's will win their match

8:44 PM: The impossible has happened. Men's team will certainly lose to Bolivia.

9:01 PM: Alia and Mi Yen wins. Nabila draws. Nurul Huda can win if she wants.

Round 5 pairings for Malaysia

 104  Bolivia (BOL)Rtg 2-2 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 FM Gemy Jose Daniel 2325    IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2422 
  Mendoza Rodrigo  2124    IM Mok Tze-Meng  2416 
  Angulo P Carlos 2210     Tan Khai Boon 2160 
 WIM Estrada Lucia  2035    FM Long Peter  2302 
 76  Iraq (IRQ)Rtg 3-1 72  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 WIM Ibrahim Delbak Ismael 1954     Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904 
 WFM  Mohammed Qane jannar Worya  1906    WCM  Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
 WCM Kareen Jalaluldeen 1790     Wahiduddin Nurul Huda 2020 
  Ismael Maha  1861     Fong Mi Yen  1905 

Men's team is paired with Bolivia. They should bounce right back with a win.

Mas choose to play effectively giving up any hopes of GM norm. Actually I believe he can rest because Bolivia is one of the weakest South American team. We should still beat them without our top player. Interestingly they have a Women  International Master on board four and Peter Long will have a chance to show he can beat the weaker opposition.

Womens gets Iraq who looks slightly superior on paper but our women and girls should be able to give a good account of themselves

Carlsen loses to Jobava

The man might be human after all.

In the fourth round of the 39th Chess Olympiad, Norway's chess wondor Magnus Carlsen lost to Georgian GM Baadur Jobava.

In the diagram Carlsen has just played 28...Rae8 and fell to a rare tactical combination, one that is extremely difficult to see.

White to move

29. Rxh7+! The pawn is defended twice by the black king and rook but the problem is there is a knight fork on f6 after 29...Kxh7 30 Rxe8 Rxe8 31. Nf6+.

Carlsen choose 29...Rxh7 but still could not save the game after losing the pawn on f5

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mok's missed endgame win

In the third round, Mok had 2544 rated grandmaster Sulskis Sarunas of Lithuania on the ropes

White to move

Mok is a pawn up and have the superior minor piece. Mok played 48. Kd3 and eventually drawn.

Instead he had a forced win. 48.Nd6+! Ke6 49. Nc4 Bg1 50. Ne3!

Now the white king cannot be prevented from reaching e4 which is winning. e,g 50... Kd6 51. Kd3 Ke6 52. Ke4 Bf2  53. Nc4  Bd4 54 b5 axb5 55. axb5 and now black is in zugzwang and must allow the white king into d5

From the first diagram, after 48.Nd6! black can also try 48...Kf4 but this is also lost. 49.Kf2! controlling g1 so the bishop will be unable to defend the b6 pawn. 49...Bg3 50 Kf1 Bh2 51. b5 axb5 52. axb5 wins.

Round 4 Malaysia loses to Switzerland

 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg 1-347 Switzerland(SUI)Rtg
IM Mas Hafizulhelmi  2422 0.5-0.5GM  Pelletier Yannick 2592 
IM  Mok Tze-Meng  2416 0-1 GM  Gallagher Joseph G  2517 
 Tan Khai Boon 2160  0-1IM Kurmann Oliver  2452 
FM  Long Peter  2302  0.5-0.5IM  Buss Ralph  2433 
72 Malaysia (MAS)Rtg 1-383 Sri Lanka(SRI)Rtg
 WCM Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904  1-0 Muhandiram R M M U  1744 
 Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829  0-1  Basnayake I U  1746 
 Wahiduddin Nurul Huda 2020  0-1 Premanath Dinushki  1853 
 Fong Mi Yen  1905  0-1  Ranasinghe S D  1822 

In Turin 2008, we managed to beat Switzerland 2.5-1.5 albeit that team was much stronger. Today our second and third boards had no chance.

There is nothing much to say about Khai Boon. He was the sacrificial lamb from the start when he was moved up to the third board. The strategy is to allow Peter Long to collect some points on fourth board. This kind of works except that Khai Boon will be hard pressed to contribute much. If any of the other three boards lost, there will be almost zero chance of winning the match.

Mok continues to depend on his Modern but this is a handicap he imposed on himself from the first move. He had a difficult position and overlooked a simple tactic losing an exchange.

Peter did well to hold the draw with the black pieces in a Benko Gambit.

Mas almost pulled off another trade-mark Mas Hafizul game against GM Yannick. From an equal position he has won a pawn and now reached the following position.

Mas played 55 Rb8 here.

Instead he could have forced a won rook ending with 55 Nd5+ Bxd5 (Forced 55...Kd7 56. Rh7 Ke8 57.Nc7+ wins the rook) 56 exd5 gxf5 57. d6+ (This is the move that one has to see when going for this variation. The pawn cannot be captured)  Kd7 58. Rh7+ Kc8 (58.. Kc6  59 Rc7+  Kb6  60. Rc8 Ra7  (otherwise d7 and the pawn queens) 61. Ke6  and the pawn cannot be stopped) 59. Ke6 f4  60. Rf7  Rb6 61 Rf8+  Kb7  62 Ke7 Kc6 63  d7 Rb7 64. Rf6+ Kd5  65 Rxf4 with an easy win.

The women's team had a disastrous result against an unfancied Sri Lankan team. Something went very wrong. But what is a question for the players and captain themselves to figure out.

Round 4 Malaysia live commentary

Chess Olympiad 2010

In fifteen minutes, another round of the greatest chess show on the planet starts. Make sure you come back and refresh your browser often to see the latest commentary. Unfortunately I am unable to display the games at the same time. Go here to follow the moves from the official server.

One of the stories making the rounds is how Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem lost the first round to a Botswana player. This story is so incredible as to be unbelievable.  How could a 2600+ grandmaster lose to a 2200 player? Yet a lot of media picked up this story and our own Quah Seng Sun is also a victim as he published the news in today's Star newspaper. If you check on you will see that Vietnam won 4-0.

First moves played! Both top boards starting with 1.e4

Board 1  IM Mas -  GM Pelletier
The Swiss grandmaster plays the Philidor Defence via the move order 1.e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5. This is a very popular defence nowadays. If white exchanges queens with 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8, black has an easy game despite his un-castled king.

Mas goes for the queen exchange. Well, his style is to play safe and wait to see whether his opponent is ambitious today. If I remember correctly 9.g3 already played before and considered not the most aggressive plan. Black will equalize quite easily.

Mas plays Kb1 and Bc1. This got to be new :) he is not trying for anything. I can almost hear the message he is giving his opponent: I dont have much but I'm solid enough, show me what you can do!

6:38 PM: Mas continues to play solidly if passively. This style suited him in the past he do not see any need to change. After all he is the under-dog which I suspects he likes the idea. He trusts his position and his own ability to come up with solutions to the challenges. His third round game is a classic study in this type of strategy.

9:59 PM: Mas may have missed a chance now with 55. Nd5+ Bxd5 56. exd5 gxf5 and now 57. d6+. Point is 57...Rxd6 58 Rh7+ wins the rook and 57...Kd7 58 Rh7+ Kc6 59. Rc7+ with a winning rook ending.

10:13 PM: Black missed another stalemate try after 66. Rd7 Be6 67. Nh7+ Ke8 68. fxe6 Rf5+!

10:28 PM: Mas won the exchange and remains with a pawn up. But there are some drawn positions of this type and there is also a study like way to win in a certain position. It will be a super feat if Mas can find a win with the time he has.

10:34 PM: Ok, I had to dig up my endgame book which I have not read for decades :). And I can confirm this is a theoretical drawn position.

Board 2  GM Gallagher  - IM Mok
Mok plays the Mokdern as usual. I once told him that he needed to learn a better opening for black. Modern against a strong grandmaster is first move suicide.

Now they have reached a standard position in the Modern Defence where black maintains a blockade on the white squares. The black king will not castle and in some lines will take a walk to g7 via f8.

Mok played this line against me during last year's DATCC Team League. He placed the knight from d7 to b6 and re-position his bishop to f8. He will have a passive position but relying on his experience with this line and maybe hoping his opponent is unfamiliar with the positions. I think this is a bad idea. To play this opening, that is.

White will aim for c4 by preparing b3. The opening of lines after pawn exchanges will be in white's favour. Mok playing quite fast, indication that he already ready for this position.

16...dxc4 looks very anti-positional. Black is hoping for 17.Bxc4 Nd5 with a nice centralized knight.  If 17.Qxc6 Qd7 18. Qxd7 Kxd7 19. Bc2, black is quite comfortable.

6:33 PM: Black's plan should be to play his bishop on e7 then either castle or walk his king to g7. If he can do this without being disturbed he will have an excellent game chances to hold.

7:21 PM: Mok missed a tactical shot 23. Nb5! The knight cannot be taken 23...cxb5 24. Bxb5 wins the queen.  It's also over for him

Board 3 Tan Khai Boon -  IM Kurmann Oliver
Khai Boon's opponent plays the Modern Benoni. This will be a sharp battle, hope Khai Boon is prepared. Khai Boon already thinking on his sixth move. This does not look like a good sign.

9 Qb3 threatening the b-pawn but black just ignores with 9...Bxf3. Black is preparing a  sacrifice after 10. Qxb7 Bxe4 11. Qxa8 Bg7.

Khai Boon declines to go for this line and re-captures on f3 with his g-pawn. Now he has weaknesses and the bishop pair is not really useful in this position. He has lost the opening battle.

6:35PM: Khai Boon's position getting worse and worse. He is likely to lose this game.

6:53 PM: Khai Boon tries something with 18. Bg4 and black likely to shoot back with 18...f5 and after 19. exf5 Qh4 white is in serious trouble.

7:01 PM: Nice shot by black with 18...b5 which I missed. The white bishop left control of c4 square. If white takes b6 then Nxb6 attacking the rook on a4 and the knight comes to c4 with devastating effect.

7:18 PM: Khai Boon gives a whole piece with 20. Rxa6 . Any other move would just lose an exchange and can still hope for a miracle.

Board 4 IM Buss Ralph - FM Peter Long
 Peter plays a sharp opening today.A Benko Gambit, its been in his repertoire since early years. One can almost play this opening with eyes closed. Still not much happening here , I think they are still in book.

Black has the typical piece activity and pressure for the sacrificed pawn.

6:35PM:  Nothing much happening yet. Both sides still moving their pieces jockeying for position

6:56 PM: Both sides continue to dance with each other lol. Maybe white wants to wait for the other boards to clarify before deciding what he wants.

7:41 PM: Peter plays a sharp move with 27...f5. He has to get some activity rather sit an wait especially that Khai Boon is lost.

Summary: Maybe time to summarize what is happening.Mas playing "wait and see" with his opponent. Mok living dangerously playing a Modern (what else). He depends on one square to save his position , the d5 square. Khai Boon losing material soon, so it is as good as over. Peter still dancing around with his pieces - not clear what is going to happen yet here.

7:22 PM : With two games in their pocket , the Swiss might offer a draw on one of the other boards to secure the match. I do not see either Mas or Peter able to force a win so this is the likely conclusion, 3-1 to Switzerland.

7:30 PM: Its rather slow here so I had a peak peek at our women's games. There is bad news over there. Fong Mi Yen has already lost. Nabila and Nurul Huda should also be losing which means they are very likely facing a lost match.

7:42 PM: Both Mas and Peter trying to mix it up now. After all there is nothing more to lose at this point. This new match point system gives rise to rather unusual situation. You may have to continue playing to "win" a "lost" game :)

And believe it or not, even with this time control  - 90 minutes for forty moves, followed by increment of thirty minutes after move forty PLUS 30 seconds increment for every move from move ONE, you can still get into time trouble.

7:55 PM: Khai Boon just got mated.

9:36 PM: Both Mok and Khai Boon lost. Peter Long drew. Mas still playing trying to squeeze a win with an extra pawn

The women's team lost boards 2, 3 and 4. Disastrous.

More visitors from Australia and United States than Malaysia

I think this is the first time I ever had more visitors to my blog from other countries besides my home Malaysia.

Australia and United States scores the highest number of visitors.

Round 4 pairings for Malaysia

 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg -47 Switzerland(SUI)Rtg
 IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2422  - GM Pelletier Yannick  2592 
 IM Mok Tze-Meng  2416  - GM  Gallagher Joseph G  2517 
 Tan Khai Boon 2160  - IM Kurmann Oliver  2452 
 FM Long Peter  2302  - IM  Buss Ralph  2433 
72 Malaysia (MAS)Rtg -83 Sri Lanka(SRI)Rtg
 WCM Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904  - Muhandiram R M M U  1744 
 Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829  -  Basnayake I U  1746 
 Wahiduddin Nurul Huda 2020  - Premanath Dinushki  1853 
 Fong Mi Yen  1905  -  Ranasinghe S D  1822 

Our womens will play with Sri Lanka and will be looking to get two match points with a win over their unfancied opponents.

After their draw last night, Malaysia mens are paired with Switzerland who are seeded 47 and fielding two grandmasters and two international masters. Mas should have good chances against Pelletier. Mok's opponent is Gallagher and I remember Yee Weng had a good score against him in 2006 Turin olympiad. If going by yesterday's form, then today anything is possible and I cannot guess what the score line will be.

Good luck to both men and women Malaysian players.

Boris Spassky suffers stroke

News are all over that former World Champion Boris Spassky suffered a stroke and is now hospitalized. His condition is said to be serious.

The chess world has been losing a number of legends such as Fischer,Lilienthal and Larsen. Let us hope and pray Boris will be able to win this battle beyond the board.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Round 3 Malaysia draws Lithuania

 39  Lithuania (LTU)Rtg 2-2 85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 GM Rozentalis Eduardas 2611  0-1 IM Mas Hafizulhelmi  2422 
 GM Sulskis Sarunas  2544  0.5-0.5 IM  Mok Tze-Meng  2416 
 GM Malisauskas Vidmantas 2510  1-0  Tan Khai Boon  2160 
 IM Zagorskis Darius  2497  0.5-0.5 FM  Long Peter  2302 
 32  Austria (AUT)Rtg 3-1 72  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 IM Moser Eva 2436  1-0  Bakri Alia Anin Azwa  1904 
 WFM Exler Veronika  2130  0.5-0.5 WCM  Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
 WFM Novkovic Julia 2134  1-0  Marmono Roslina  1933 
 WFM Newrkla Katharina  2123  0.5-0.5   Fong Mi Yen  1905 

It was a gruelling day and night for the men's team. After over five hours play, the last two games were finally done. Mas ground out a win against a very strong grandmaster and Mok missed winning a knight versus bishop ending.

Mas game is very interesting and in my mind it is typical of his style of play. Some of his moves are unfathomable like sacrificing a pawn to blunt white's initiative. He proved that his position is solid enough despite the pawn minus. And when white tries to force matters, suddenly his pieces are active and overcoming the white pieces and position. Very masterly game, one should study this. I could not see what white's mistake was, other than trying to win.

Mok missed a great chance in an ending where he was running circles with his knight around the black king and bishop.

On the spot live commments are here

Malaysia Round 3 live comments (please refresh page to see new comments)

For the live moves go to this link

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Board 1 GM Rozentalis Eduardas - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi
Mas opponent plays a passive line against the Sicilian. I do not understand Mas 7th move 7...Ne5 allowing his opponent to double his pawns. Mas could have just played 7..e5 to transpose to a Ruy Lopez type of game. Or even 7...g6 to keep the Sicilian flavour.

7:50 PM: Just got back from office. Not much changed in this game, Mas maintains a solid if passive position.

8:38 PM: Mas can take the c2 pawn now. He is just checking if his queen will get trapped.

8:44PM: Mas won c2 pawn. Now he can even think about trying for a win. Both players reached the crucial forty moves.

9:03 PM: If you are wondoring why Black is the one playing for win here, it is because of the weakened white king position.

9:14 PM: Mas puts his bishop on b8 aiming for g5 to open the diagonal to h2 for mate. White forced to give his c-pawn to distract him.

9:22 PM: Rozentalis managed to exchange a rook and close the h2-b8 diagonal. But the cost is great. Mas pieces previously hiding behind his pawns are now unleashed. The rook on d7 controls the important d-file. White still have problems to solve.

9:33 PM: Mas has a very interesting move now, 51...Qb5 to force queen exchange. White has many weak pawns and in a rook and bishop ending will lose.

9:38 PM: Mas played 51...Qxa5. This may be a blunder. No. Now 52.Bc8 Qd5+ 53. Qxd5 Rxd5 54. Bxa6 Kxf6. Although there are opposite colored bishops, Black still retains winning chances. In any case, White will have to suffer a long defensive task

9:43 PM: White played 54. Re1? instead of re-capturing the a-pawn. Now he is going to be two pawns down. This is less than grandmasterly play.

10:06 PM: Didn't 63...Kg4 instead of 63...Kf6 wins? They been at it for five hours now. I'm tired myself cannot imagine what it is like sitting there with the clock ticking away.

10:13PM : Mas seems to have tricked his grandmaster opponent. Looks like he will win the f-pawn. I'm tired and not sure of myself anymore :) Looks like it though.

10:16 PM: Mas exchanges the last white pawn instead of trying to win it. He has two connected passed pawns in this opposite colored bishops ending. With rooks on it is winnable. With two to three minutes each on the clock, someone's bound to make an error. Question is who?

Board 2 IM Mok Tze-Meng - GM Sulskis Sarunas
This is a very strange opening coming from a grandmaster. 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Be6!?
Mok replied with 4.d3 which I do not think is the best way to refute the black move.

I'm beginning to like Mok's position. His opponent has opened up the game with 13..d5. Now Mok should exchange light square bishops. His knight has nominal superiority over the bishop. He should then exchange as many major pieces as he can to go into a N v B ending.

17.Qe4 is not the best. After 17..Qd7 White cannot play 18.Qc4 due to 18..e4 winning material. Mok should have played 17.Rad1 first.

7:52 PM: As expected a N v B ending is reached. The knight is not worse than a bishop here. At least a draw for Mok.

8:03 PM: Mok just played a very risky looking move 35. exf5. This looks like an attempt to win. His opponent is short of time which is in Mok's favour. Besides someone need to win as Khai Boon just resigned.

After 35...gxf5 36. Ne8+ Ke6 37. Ng7+ Kf6 38. Nxh5 Kg6 39 g4 Mok wins a pawn but his knight will be trapped on the edge of the board for a long time.

8:12 PM: The GM plays 36...Ke7 37. Ng7 h4!? He tries to give up the f-pawn instead and hope to penetrate with his king to white king-side. 37. Nxf5 Kf6 38. Nh6 Kg5 but maybe he overlooks that 39.Ng4 is attacking his bishop and gives white a tempo.

8:33 PM: Black has reached the time control (additional thirty minutes added to both clocks). We can expect Mok to go for a long think to look for a winning plan.

8:42 PM: Mok plays 41. b4. Better plan is 41. Kd3 to bring the king to e2. Then play Nf2 to re-locate the knight to the centre.

8:55 PM: Mok brings his king to d3. If he can see the Ke2 plan then it is a point in the pocket.

9:04 PM: Mok is thinking a long time. Hope he sees that he can play 43. Ke2 as 43...e4 can be answered by 44. Nf2! exf3 45. Kxf3 and white later creates a passed pawn with g4

9:11 PM: Mok just played 43. Ke2. Now the plan is to bring the knight to d6 attacking the b7 pawn. After black plays ..b6 then white continues pushing the pawn to b5 followed by Nc8 to win the a-pawn.

9:47 PM: Mok missed a simple win. 48. Nd6+ followed by Nc4 should be winning because after 48...Ke6 49. Nc4 Bg1 50. Ne3 and the white king reaches e4 unimpeded.

9:55 PM: Mok has allowed the black king too near to his king-side pawns, without creating enough threats on the queen-side. I think the win is in doubt now.

Board 3 GM Malisauskas Vidmantas - Tan Khai Boon
Khai Boon's game is a Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation. Good chance for him to hold a draw.

I don't think Khai Boon has the experience to handle his position. A loss is likely here.

7:53 PM: White has three passed pawns for a piece. Expect Khai Boon to resign anytime now.

Board 4 IM Zagorskis Darius - FM Long Peter
Started as a Reti Opening, but the Peter plays d4 to transpose into a Catalan. 11.Nf3 is a bit passive maybe 11. Nb3.

Nevertheless, Peter is quite good at this type of positions where he is not run off the board by his opponent's tactics. He tends to blunder in time pressure, so he should try to keep up with his opponent on time.

7:54 PM: Peter has exchanged all the major pieces to go to a B+N v B+N ending. He is not worse here. Expect a draw.

8:36 PM: Peter has reached forty moves *sigh of relief here* lol

8:54 PM: Opponent offers draw! Good job, Peter

Overall notes
So far everybody is doing all right. The next hour will show if our players can demonstrate the strategic depth to maintain their positions.

7:55 PM: All games went according to my expectations. We can expect 1.5 points unless Mok tries to win his slightly better ending. Don't forget, 1.5 points is the same as 1 point.

8:17 PM: Looks like Mok opponent has blundered in time trouble. We can expect a full point from him. Now hoping for Mas and Peter to draw to give us a tie.

8:44 PM: Mok misses the simpler plan though I think he still is winning. Mas position looks much improved, maybe trying to win now!

8:55 PM: Peter draws. Its up to Mok and Mas now

9:15 PM: Mok is winning. Mas with real winning chances now. A 2.5 - 1.5 win for Malaysia against Lithuania will be an upset.

9:55 PM: Mok has missed the win plan. It will be real difficult now. Mas played some nice moves to maintain winning chances in a rook and opposite colored bishops ending.

10:02 PM: After 60..Bb6 I do not think Mok is winning anymore. Black just puts his king on g2 and defends the e5 pawn with his bishop. If white captures on e5, then exchange of pieces followed by ..Kxf3 and reaches the a8 square for the draw

Mas may have made it more difficult to win with 63...Kf6.

10:18 PM: Mok's game will be drawn. Mas might still win to draw the match.

10:23 PM: Mas wins so we will draw the match. Congratulations to the team for a good fight! Too bad Mok missed his win else it could be a great day.

Round 3 Pairings for Malaysia

 39  Lithuania (LTU)Rtg  -  85  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 GM Rozentalis Eduardas 2611   - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2422 
 GM Sulskis Sarunas  2544  -  IM Mok Tze-Meng  2416 
 GM Malisauskas Vidmantas 2510   - Tan Khai Boon 2160 
 IM Zagorskis Darius  2497  -  FM Long Peter  2302 

Our men's team are out-pointed and out-titled everywhere. Realistically we can only hope for one or two draws. My prediction: 1-3 for Malaysia.

 32  Austria (AUT)Rtg  -  72  Malaysia (MAS)Rtg
 IM Moser Eva 2436  -  Bakri Alia Anin Azwa 1904 
 WFM Exler Veronika  2130  -  WCM  Nur Nabila Azman Hisham  1829 
 WFM Novkovic Julia 2134   - Marmono Roslina 1933 
 WFM Newrkla Katharina  2123  -  Fong Mi Yen  1905 

On paper, we should lose all boards. This will be the real test of our strength in the womens. Most of our women except for Roslina does not have experience at this level. This will show if they are under-rated or not.