Friday, May 31, 2013

National Closed - leader falls again

The 2013 National Chess Closed is being held in University Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu.The nine round Swiss is is held from 28th May to 2nd June with two rounds, one in the morning at 9:00 AM and the other in the afternoon at 3:00 PM. The final round will start tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM.

The leader, Wong Jianwen was defeated by Aron Teh in the pen-ultimate round. The former over-looked an exchange and he struggled into a R+P v B+P ending until ninety moves. Aron showed some good technique to bring in the full point.

Aron Teh - Wong Jianwen, Round 8

White needs to bring his king to g6 to win.

1. Rc1 Kf4 2. Rf1+ Kg4 3. Kf7 Kg5 4. Ke6 Kg4 5. Rg1+ Kf4 6. Rh1 Kg4 7. Rh8 Kf4 8. Rf8

The white rook wants to give itself for the bishop but black will have none of it

8... Bb2 9. Rd8 !

Aron sees the winning plan

9... Bf6 10. Rd5 Kg4 11. Kf7 Kg5 12. Rb5

Zugzwang! If the bishop moves, white pushes his pawn f6+ and wins

12... Kg4 13. Kg6 

Objective achieved! The next step is to drive the black king further away and capture the black pawn on g7

13... Kf4 14. Rb8 Ke4 15. Rf8 Bb2 16. Kg5 Bc3 17. Rf7 Bb2 18. Kg4 Bf6 19. Ra7 Ke5 20. Ra6 Kd5 21.Re6 Bd8 22. Kh5 Ba5 23. Kg6 Bc3 24. Re7 Bb2 25. Rxg7 1-0

As we go into the final round tomorrow morning, the lead is shared by Fong Yit San and Aron Teh with 6.5 points Incidentally these are the very two I picked  as the ones to watch for 2013 and not Mark Siew.

Following half a point behind are Wong Jianwen and Zulkifli Muhd Syazwan with six points. One of these four will be the 2013 national champion. Yeoh Li Tian dropped out of the race when he drew his eight round game. So tomorrow will be an exciting finale.

The top three pairings will decide the champion -


Jianwen still have a chance to be champion if he wins and Aron loses and Yit San does not win. Good luck to everyone!

There is no such excitement over at the women's section. Nur Nabila has a one point lead over Nur Najiha who in turn has a one point lead over a group of five pointers. The interest will centre on who will take the third and last qualifying spot for the Malaysian Masters.

National Closed - wide open now

The 2013 National Chess Closed is being held in University Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu.The nine round Swiss is is held from 28th May to 2nd June with two rounds, one in the morning at 9:00 AM and the other in the afternoon at 3:00 PM.

The tournament is now wide open after Wong Jianwen defeated the leader, Fong Yit San in round six. From the black side of a Sicilian Pelikan, the former started to outplay the leader in the middle-game. The following position was reached after move white's 35th move.

Fong Yit San - Wong Jianwen , round six
Fritz showed a very attractive win with 35... Bf2 36. Rxh7 (36. Qd5+ Qf7 37. Bxh7+ Kg7 38. Qg5+ Kf8 39. Qh6+ Ke7 40. Qg5+ Kd7 41.
Bf5+ Kc7 42. Rc3+ Bc5 and there are no more checks) 36... Rb1+ 37. Bxb1 Re1+ 38. Kg2 Rg1+ 39. Kh3 Qe3 mate

Black played 35...Qe7 which wins anyway.

There are now four players tied for the lead, Jianwen, Yit San, Aron Teh and Zulkifli Muhd Syazwan. The latter has been steadily improving his game. Syazwan upset Yeoh Li Tian in the six round in a equal position. Li Tian seemed determined to either win or lose the game even though objectively it was a draw at best. He succeeded in losing instead.

The pairings for the top two boards are Jianwen - Syazwan and Aron - Yit San. I think Jianwen has the best chance to take the championship. It is quite difficult to beat him. I expect a last round encounter between him and Li Tian unless the latter self-destructs again.

This morning's pairing -

Men round seven pairing

Over at the women's section, the favourites are leading. Both Nabila and Najiha has a full point lead with five points. The interest centres around who will take the third spot.

Women round seven pairing

Thursday, May 30, 2013

National Closed - Two in lead

The 2013 National Chess Closed is being held in University Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu.The nine round Swiss is is held from 28th May to 2nd June with two rounds, one in the morning at 9:00 AM and the other in the afternoon at 3:00 PM.

Surprisingly, after only four rounds two players have opened a one point gap from the rest of the field. Fong Yit San defeated Yeoh Li Tian to remain on full points. A big surprise is Erowan Masrin who also won all his games to join Yit San in the lead. The other hot favourites, Sumant Subramaniam and Wong Jianwen drew their game leaving the two leaders a clear point ahead of a big group of three pointers.

In the women's section, sisters Nur Nabila and Nur Najiha lead after dropping one half point.

Fong Yit San - Yeoh Li Tian, round 4
Black has equalised and can now start operations against white's backward c-pawn. First he should kick away the knight with ...Rd5.

22. ... Na5 ?  23. Qd1 Rd5 24. Qg4 Nb3 ?? 25. Nxf7 and black is lost

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

National Closed 2013 early leaders after three rounds

In the Open section, top seed Yeoh Li Tian has full points after three rounds. He beat Mark Siew in a Pirc Defence. The other favourites, Sumant Subramaniam and Wong Jianwen dropped half points in earlier rounds. Three players are tied for the lead with Li Tian, Erowan Masrin and Fong Yit San. The latter will play Li Tian on the top board in round four.

In the Women's section, fifth seed Nithyalakshmi Sivanesan almost pulled off a big upset against Nur Najiha.  However she let Najiha off the hook with inprecise play. There are four leaders all of whom have dropped half a point. They are Nur Najiha, Nithyalakshmi, Nur Nabila and Mohd Saufi Najihah

Below are the games with some light notes.

[Event "National 2013"]
[Date "2013.05.29"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Yeoh Li Tian"]
[Black "Mark Siew"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B08"]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7

The Pirc have almost disappeared from top grandmaster practice for very good reasons. Here, Li Tian shows how difficult it is for the black side to counter white's space advantage.

 5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O a6 7. a4 b6 8. Re1 Bb7 9. Bf1 e6 10. Bf4 Nc6

It does not make sense to block the bishop that is fianchettoed on b7.10...Nbd7 looks much better

11. Qd2 Re8

Black delays the counter in the centre. He is already on the edge of disaster. 11... e5 12. Be3 exd4 13. Nxd4 Re8 14. Nxc6 Bxc6 15. Bd4 was playable

12. Rad1 Nh5 13. Bg5 f6 14. Bh6 Ne7 ?

Still refraining from challenging white's centre.

15. Bc4  Bxh6 16. Qxh6 Ng7 17. Qh3 d5 18. Bb3 Bc8 19. Qh6 Bb7 20. Qf4 Nh5 21. Qh4 Qd6 22. e5 fxe5 23. Rxe5 Nf5 24. Qg5 Nhg7 25. g4 +- Ne7 26. Qh6 c5 27. Ng5 cxd4 28. Rxe6 Qxe6 29. Qxh7+ Kf8 30. Nxe6+ Nxe6 31. Ne4 Ng8

31... dxe4 32. Bxe6 is mate

32. Qxb7 1-0

[Event "National Closed"]
[Date "2013.05.29"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Sivanesan"]
[Black "Najiha"]
[Result "draw"]
[ECO "B42"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 b5 

Not a common reply in this line for good reason.

6. O-O Qc7 7. Qe2 d6 8. c4 !?

The reason ...b5 is not good is it gives white a target on the queen-side to weaken the black pawns.
Normally white plays 8. a4 here.

8... bxc4 9. Bxc4 Nf6 10. Nc3 Be7 11. b3 Nbd7 12. Bb2 Ne5 13. Bd3 Qa7 14. Rad1 O-O 15. Bb1 Ng6

Black gives up the bishop pair for no reason.

16. Nc6 Qc7 17. Nxe7+ Nxe7 18. Qd3 d5 19. e5 Qxe5 20. Nxd5 Qxd5
21. Qg3 Nf5 22. Qh3 Qc6

Black keeps the queen on the long diagonal in anticipation of white playing g4 to regain his piece but there is a tactical refutation for this move

23. Bxf6 gxf6 24. Qg4+ Kh8 25. Be4

White wins a clear exchange.

25...Qc7 26. Bxa8 Rg8 27. Qh3 Bb7 28. Bxb7 Qxb7 29. Rd3

Black has no counter-play and is totally lost.

29...e5 30. Rfd1 Nd4 31. Kh1 Qe4 32. Rg3 

Better 32. f3 Qe2 33. R3d2 Qe3 34. Qd7 Kg7 35. Qb7 White has defended
the threats on g2 and can now pick up pawns on the queen-side

32... Qc2 33. Rxg8+ Kxg8 34. Qg4+

34. Rf1 Qxa2 35. Qh6 White threatens Rc1 with mate on black's back rank, 35... Nxb3 36. Qxf6 and White is winning due to the exposed black king

34... Kf8 35. Rf1 Qxa2 36. Qc8+ Kg7 37. Qg4+ Kf8 38. Qc8+ Kg7 39. Qg4+ 1/2-1/2

White bails out with a draw

National Closed live

The top boards for the open and women are broadcast live here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Asian Continental - Personal report

The 2013 Asian Continental ended on Sunday 26th May. The final results is pretty much covered by Peter here. Kevin has also mentioned he will report at his blog. Tables do not tell the full story so this is my personal account.

Arriving at the airport in Manila, I was not too surprised that there was no one to meet me. The airport is not the main airport in Manila and I figured the logistics person only went to the main Ninoy Aquino airport. I was ready for this eventuality but to my dismay I found my mobile roaming did not work. Luckily there was wireless available and I quickly got in touch with Peter using Whatsapp. It turned out that Peter was in Australia but he still called the local logistic person. A strange two to one communication process with the local guy talking to Peter by phone while I used my wireless connection. Finally Peter informed me to "look for them and show some chess moves". I pondered on that for a while. What should I do? Make like a horse and knight? (Ok, enough with the humor and get on to the chess).

First round I met the Filipino GM John P. Gomez. I allowed my bishop to be exchanged by his knight. Not a good idea against these grandmasters. Before I let, IM Mas commented to me that this is one tournament where you can lose to a grandmaster and drop down twenty boards and still meet another grandmaster. This time I thought I'll take the fight to the GM.

Round 2 , Dao Thien Hai - Jimmy Liew, White won

White could have played 23.Qb7+ Kd7 24. Ne4 bxa5 25. b6 Na6 26. Kh1 Rhf8 when black is able to hold. Instead I was surprised by  

23. Nf1

Now 23...Qe4 24. Nd2 and white can go back into the line in the notes above. I decided not to allow this and played the other queen move which turned out to be losing.  

23... Qa3

23... Qe4 24. Nd2 Qe3 25. Qb7+ Kd7 as in the note above

 24. Qb7+ Kd7 25. Nb3

This move shows that the black queen is out of play on a3. Black is lost as white will just open up lines against the exposed black king. These grandmasters are good!  

26. e3 d3 27. Rd1 Nd7 28. Rxd3 Nxe5 29. Rxd8 Rxd8 30.Qe4 f6 31. Nd4 Rxd4

A mis-calculation in time trouble.

 31... Ng5 32. Nc6+ Ke8 33. Qf5 Nxc6 34. bxc6 Qd3 35. Qxd3 Rxd3 36. Rc2 $14) 32. exd4 Ng5 33. Qe3 Qxe3 34. Nxe3 Nef3+ 35. Kg2 Ne1+ 36. Kf1 Nd3 37. Rd2 1-0 

Round 3, Jimmy Liew - Manuel Efren

White has the good knight versus black bishop. To win, white must penetrate with the queen but the squares, c6, c7 and c8 are pretty much covered 37. b5 Kh7 38. Qb4 Kg7 39. a4 ? 39. Qa3 was a simple way to penetrate 39... Kf7 40. g3 ? 40. Qf8+ Kxf8 41. Nxg6+ wins easily. Still I managed to win after a long fight.

Round 4 , Jimmy Liew - Nguyen van huy , draw

With time trouble looming on the horizon I decided to give up the two bishops to reach what I thought should be a winning bishop ending. 34.Bxd5 exd5 35. Be3 Bb8 36. b4 a6! Otherwise white plays b5 and ties the bishop to the defence of the pawn on a7 37. a4 Ke6 


I had expected to win this position in the following manner - 38. b5 axb5 39. a5 Kd7 40. a6 Kc6 41. a7 Bxa7 42. Bxa7 and the g-pawn wins for white. But with the position in front of me I realized black just keeps his king on the king-side and plays ...Kg5 to win the g-pawn. With three more moves to the time-control on 40, I played aimless moves.  

38. Bd4 Bg3 39. Bc3 Kd6 40. Bf6 Be1 41. Bc3 Bg3 42. Bd4 Kc6 43. Bc3 1/2-1/2

 In fact from the diagram above, white has an easy win by giving up the g-pawn and penetrate to b7 with his king. 38. a5! Ke5 39. Bg1 Ke6 (Or 39... Kf6 40. b5 axb5 41. Kc3 Kg5 42. Kb4 Kxg4 43. Kxb5 with pretty much the same play) 40. b5 axb5 41. a6 Kf6 ( 41... b4 42. Bd4 Kd6 43. Kc2) 42. Kc3 Kg5 43. Kb4 Kxg4 44. Kxb5 Kf3 45. Kc6 g5 46. Kb7 wins.

My round five game is covered here.

In round six I met a local Filipino chess coach.

Round 6, Jimmy Liew - Randy Randy Segarra, draw

 After a bad opening, I recovered and even managed to win a pawn.

18...Ncxd5 19. Nxd5 Nxd5 ??

The only move was 19... Qxd5 20. Qxd5 Nxd5 21. Be4 Rxe4 22. fxe4 Nf6 Black has compensation after capturing on e4

20. Re1?

I had a momentary chess blindness when I calculated 20. Be4 Bb7 21. Rd1 Nxe3+ 22.
Bxe3 Bxe4 23. Bxc5 Bxf3+ and I thought I had to take with the king when I
will get mated. However the queen is now cleared to take on f3, 24. Qxf3 wins.

After 20. Re1 the game was drawn after I contained black's attack and reached an ending.

Round 7, Tran Tuan Minh-Jimmy Liew, white won

28....h5 ? I thought to stabilize the king-side before starting play on the queen-side. I did not actually overlook white's next move but considered it not dangerous. How wrong I was! 29. Rxd6 Bxd6 30. Rxd6 Rc7 31.Kf4 Nf8 32. Ke3 Ne6 33. Bxe6 I never expected white to give up his bishop and I reacted terribly. 33..Rxe6 ?? I was still in middle-game mode and only thinking of active play for my rooks. 33...fxe6 gives white only a slight advantage in the end-game. 34. Rd8+ Kh7 35. Ra8 Rb7 36. b3 Rb4 37. Rxa5 c4 38. bxc4 Rxc4 39. Kd3 Rb4 40. Rxh5+ Kg8 41. Rc5 It is clear my plan has gone wrong and white has a winning material advantage. Round eight was a horrible game where I blundered a piece after the opening. I can only say that I attended the final FIDE trainers session that morning which was followed by an exam which ended at 3:00PM and then went straight to the tournament!

It is not easy to realize white's advantage (B v N).

 24... Qg6 ? 

 24... Qg1+ 25. Kc2 Nb6 26. Bg4+ Kc7 27. Rxd8 Kxd8 28. Qxb7 Qc5+ 29. Kb1 Qg1+ with perpetual  

25. Bg4+ Kc7 26. Bf5 Qc6 27. Rxd8 Qxe4+ 28. Bxe4 Kxd8 29. Bxb7

White has not won yet because his pawn on e5 is indefensible.  

29...Nb6 30. Kc2 Nc4 31. Kc3 Nxe5 32. Kd4 f6 33. Kd5 ?

This loses a pawn which both players did not notice  

33.. Ke7

33... Nd3 34. b3 Nc1 picks up one of white's pawns  

34. b4 h5 35. a4 g5 36. a5 Kd7 37. b5 Kc7 38. Ba8 Kb8 39. Bc6 Kc7 40. Ke6 !

I calculated the long sequence leading to a straightforward win.

 40...Nxc6 41. bxc6 Kxc6 42. Kxf6 Kb5 43. Kxg5 Kxa5 44. g4

My opponent was expecting 44. Kxh5 Kb4 45. g4 a5 46. g5 a4 47. g6 a3 48. g7 a2 49. g8=Q a1=Q with some practical chances for him.

44...hxg4 45. Kxg4 Kb4 46. h4 a5 47. h5 a4 48. h6 a3 49. h7 a2 50. h8=Q Kb3 51. Qa1 1-0

So my final score was +2 =2 -5 for total of three points out of nine.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Asian Continental 2013 Round 5 game

[Event "Asian Continental"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.05.22"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Ghaem Maghami Ehsan"]
[Black "Jimmy Liew"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C41"]
[WhiteElo "2568"]
[BlackElo "2287"]

The position is about equal.


This is risky but I figured I had to take a chance if I wanted to score some points.

24. Nh4! Qc6 

Already I can say I am not calculating well enough. 24... Nf6 25. Nf5 e4 26. Qg3 Rg8 Black is holding and there are no dangerous tactics on the white diagonal


White also overlooked that my last move is a blunder 25. Qxe4 Qxe4 26. Bxe4 d5 27. cxd5 Bxh4 and white has regained his pawn with the better game

25... Bxh4

25... Nf6 26. Nf5 d5 27. Nxe7 Qc5+ 28. Qe3 Rxe7 and black remains a pawn up. An even better line shown by the computer is 25... Qc5+ 26. Be3 Qc8 27. Bd2 Nf6 28. Nf5 e4 29. fxe4 Nxe4 30. Rxe4 Qxf5 with black having the advantage

26. Rxe4 Bg3

26... Bf6 27. Bxh6 gxh6 28. Rxe5
{there is no defence to the mate on h7})

27. Rxe5 g6 28. Rd5

I overlooked this move but the resulting position is similar to 28. Rh5 immediately

28... Qc7

I analyzed the alternative which is 28... Kh7 29. f4 Qc7 30. Qxg3 Bxd5 when I mistakenly thought I was material down but in fact I overlooked that the c-pawn is pinned 31. cxd5 Qxc2 wins material

 29. Rh5 f5

More mistakes in my calculation. I though 29... Kg8 30. Bxh6 loses material but 30... Re6 31. Rg5 Bf4 32. Qc3 Re5, black is still surviving

30. Rxh6+ Kg7 31. Qd4+ Be5 32.
Qh4 Qc5+

Down to my last minute I made a final blunder. I had intended 32... Rh8 33. Re1 Bf6 but then white has the tactical 34. Rxe8 Bxh4 35. Rexh8 Be7 36. Bc3+ Kf7 37.R6h7+ Ke6 38. Rg8 Qxc4 39. Rxg6+ Kd7 40. Rgg7 winning the pinned bishop

33. Kh1 

Now I saw that my last move did not change anything. 33... Rh8 34. Rxh8 Rxh8 35. Qe7+ forks the bishop on b7

Rf7 34.Rxg6+ 1-0

Mate is coming after 34...Kxg6 35. Qh6 mate.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Asian Continental Live Games

The top 8 boards will be broadcast live. There are a few sites, one is in ChessBomb

Select Asian Continental 2013 from the list.

Asian Continental - List of participants

Friday, May 17, 2013

Asian Continental Chess Championship

As I write, I am waiting for my flight to Manila, where the Asian Continental will be held. This is a qualifying stage for the World Cup with five places for the Open and one for women.

This is a nine round Swiss starting at 3 pm daily except for the last round which starts earlier at 9:30 in the morning on 26th May.

There is a FIDE trainer seminar running alongside. I will be attending this so my schedule is very tight with seminars in the morning and games in afternoon. Hopefully I can find time to report on the tournament.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Upcoming Events

There are quite a few tournaments coming up in the weeks ahead. This coming Sunday will see an Amateur event for unrated and rated under 1600 players. Organized by Chess Connections, more info can be obtained here.

This will be followed by two tournaments in the following week-end. The creatively named Revoc Genius Open Challenge on Saturday, 25th May. Entry forms here.

The next day sees the Insofar series of tournaments on the 26th May. A new concept is a lucky draw of RM500. For more info go here. Also on the same day but this time in Ipoh, Perak is the Datuk Bandar Ipoh Chess Open. Registration form at Firey Rook's blog here.

The 2013 National Chess Championship will run from 27th May to 2nd June in Terengganu with a first prize of RM1000 plus trophy. The corresponding women's event will be held along side and there is one positive improvement I applaud. The women's event have the same prize structure as the Open i.e first prize is also RM1000. Good move from the Terengganu Chess Association. Get more info from Biro Catur Wanita blog here.

The annual Lim Chong Memorial continues with its third edition on 16th June 2013. The venue is the usual DAT Chess Connections at Wilayah Kompleks.

I was informed that there is a two day rapid in Langkawi, Kedah. However, there are no full details but it will be on the same week-end as the Lim Chong tournament.

A new event, the Ketoyong Classic will be held on the week-end of 22-23rd June. More info can be obtained from
Abd Hamid Majid (019 3158098 –, En Najib Wahab: 0163382542 – Email: or  Fadli Zakaria : Tel: 014 2312370

Finally the event we have all been waiting for. The Malaysian Chess Festival returns after a test run last year using rapid format. This year goes back to its original format using standard time controls. Many will be excited at this seeing that this event has allowed many players to obtain their title norms. Local players who achieved IM norms in this tournament includes IM Mok Tze Meng (final norm) , IM Lim Yee Weng (final norm) and Ronnie Lim (first norm). So keep your diary open as the organizers have indicated dates from 9th-19th August 2013. More details here.