Sunday, May 31, 2015

Malaysian Masters 2015 (Women): Round 4 highlights

The 2015 Malaysian Masters (Women) is a ten player round robin format. The tournament will be played over five days starting Saturday 30th May till Wednesday , 3rd June 2015 at the Dewan Ho Koh Chye at the Olympic Hotel in Jalan Hang Jebat.

Three draws were featured today, two of them quiet affairs with both white and black players trading pieces to equal endings. 

However, the following should have ended in a win for black.

Melanie Koo - Tan Li Ting, Round 4

Despite the aggresive white king position, black's outside passed pawn will decide the game. At the end of the tournament, Li Ting will surely regret giving away the half point with her next move.

 50. ... b5 ??
This does not work since the black king is too far from the king-side.

Black gains the opposition and wins after 50... f6 51. f5 (51. Ke6 b5 52. axb5 axb5 53. Kd5 Kb6) 51...
Kd7 52. Kc4 Kc6 53. Kd4 Kd6

51. axb5 axb5 52. Kc5 g5 53. Kxb5 
This is the easiest way to a draw although 53. fxg5 is also possible after 53... Kd7 54. Kxb5 Kd6 55. Kc4 Ke5 56. Kc5! Kf4 57. Kd6 Kxg5 58. Ke5 f6+ 59. Ke6 Kg6 60. Ke7 Kg5 61. Ke6 and no progress can be made.

53... Kd6 54. Kc4 gxf4 55.Kd4 1/2-1/2

Replay the game below

Najihah Mohd Saufi - Nur Najiha Azman Hisham, Round 4

The game started as a Smith-Morra Gambit with white catching the black king in the centre. Now white has a great chance to finish the game. She starts correctly with

28. Bxf6 Qxf6 
28... Bxf6 29. Bxd5! crashes through since exd5 30. Re7+ wins the black queen.

29. Qxg4 Qg5 30. Qf3+ Bf6

The position is critical for black and white should look for the killer blows. The most obvious is
31. Rxe6 Rxe6 32. Bxd5 Rc1 (the only move to avoid complete collapse) 33. Bxe6+ Kg7 and White has two pawns and despite the opposite colored bishops can still try to win due to the exposed black king.

Instead white can take advantage of the over-loaded black queen. 31. h4! Qxh4 32. Rxe6 Rxe6 33. Qxd5  and White has a winning attack.

 31. Qe2 This is less decisive but white is still in a very strong position because of the exposed black king 31... Rcc6 32. Qxb5 d4

A desperate try to exchange queens. After 33. Qb7+ Kf8 34. Rxe6 Rxe6 35. Bxe6 Rxe6 36. Qc8+ Kg7 37. Qxe6 white wins comfortably but instead she blunders overlooking her queen.

33. Rxe6 ??  33... Qxb5 34. Rxc6+ Kg6 35. Ba4 Qb4 36. Bc2+ Kf7 37. Rc7+ Be7 38. Rcxe7+ Qxe7 39. Rxe7+ Kxe7 40. f4 Rb6 41. b3 Rc6 42. Be4 Re6 43. Bf3 d3 44. Kf2 Kd6 45. g4 d2 46. Be2 Kd5 47. f5 Re8 48. h4 Kd4 49. g5 hxg5 50. hxg5 Re5 51. g6 Rxf5+ 0-1

Replay the game below

Malaysian Masters 2015 (Women): Round 3

The 2015 Malaysian Masters (Women) is a ten player round robin format. The tournament will be played over five days starting Saturday 30th May till Wednesday , 3rd June 2015 at the Dewan Ho Koh Chye at the Olympic Hotel in Jalan Hang Jebat.

Round three was a most bloody day with four out of the five games being decisive and white on the winning side.
Najihah Mohd Saufi - Alia Bakri, Round 3
 This simple looking ending is not that simple and Black lost to a much lower rated player after 31...Rc6 ?

The best chance was 31...Re7 and if 32. Rc5 to defend the pawn with 32...Rd7 and then bring the king to the defence of the d5 pawn.

32. Rc5! Now black is forced to exchange and give white a potential passed pawn on the queen-side
 Rxc5 33. dxc5
Kf6 34. b4 Ke6 

Despite pawns are equal, black is worse as he cannot create his own passed pawn on the king-side due to the white pawn on e3. Now 34... Ke5 35. b5 and 35...d5 is not possible because of 36 exd4+ Kxd4 37 c6 queening the pawn.

35. a4 a6 36. b5 a5 37. h4 Ke5 38. g4 fxg4+ 39. Kxg4 h6 40. Kf3 Ke6 41. Kf4 g5+ 

Black is in zugzwang. 41...Kf6 loses to 42 c6 bxc6 43 b6.

42. hxg5 hxg5+ 43. Kxg5 Ke5 44. Kg4 Ke4 45. c6 bxc6 46. bxc6 Kxe3 47. c7 d4 48. c8=Q d3 49. Qc5+ Ke2 50. Qxa5 1-0

After winning a pawn, Nabila made a horrible blunder with 31...Rxc2?? overlooking an in-between move. It always pays to check every possible capture!

Camilia had the better pawn structure though it is not easy to find a good plan. The game was agreed drawn.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Malaysian Masters 2015 (Women)

The 2015 Malaysian Masters (Women) started off today with ten participants in a round robin format. The tournament will be played over five days starting today till Wednesday , 3rd June 2015 at Dewan Ho Koh Chye at the Olympic Hotel in Jalan Hang Jebat.

The first round saw some interesting mistakes. Renitha Narayanan could have scored a win if she had seen a simple tactic.

Tan Li Ting-Renitha Narayanan

White to move sees that the knight cannot be taken since after 34. fxe4 Qe3+ 35. Kf1 Nxa4 36. Qxa4 Qxe4, the white king is too exposed.

34.Ng2?? whereupon Renitha immediately played 34...Qd8 and lost a rook ending a pawn down after some major exchanges. Instead she could have won with 34... Nxa4 35. Qxa4 Nc3 simply winning a rook for knight.

Renitha's blindness continued in round two where she simply overlooked her queen was en prise.
Alia - Renitha
Black played 34...Bxd4?? and resigned immediately after 35. Qxa5

Also in round two I came across the following interesting ending.

Nur Nabila-Puteri Rifqah
Black is in some danger and should now play ...f6-f5 blocking the king-side.

37...h5? 38. f5+ Kxf5 39. Kxd5 Ne5 40. e4+ Kg4 41. Kd6 Kf4 42. Kc7 Nc4

Black recognizes her position is hopeless and goes for the best practical chance.

43. Kxb7 Nxa5+ 44. Bxa5 Kxe4 45. Kc6 Ke3 

Black's objective is simple; to exchange all white pawns on the king-side

46. g3??

This is a  crucial loss of tempo. White was too short of time to find the winning plan. 46. Bb6+
Ke2 47. Kd5 Kf1 48. g4 hxg4 49. Ke6 (White wins this position as he is able to
stop the black pawns.) Kg2 50. Bc7 Kf2 51. Kf5 Kf3 52. Bd6 Ke3 53. Kxg4 Ke4 54.
Kh5 f5 55. Kg5 g6 56. h4 wins.

46... Kf3 47. Bc7 Kg2 48. Kd5

Now 48. g4 hxg4 49. Kd5 Kf3 is a draw as white cannot stop the f-pawn from rolling forward. 50. Ke6 Ke4 and starts pushing the f-pawn.

48... Kxh2 49. Ke4 Kg2
More to the point was 49... Kh3 50. Kf3 g5 intending ...g4 and than ...h4 exchanging
white's pawn.

50. Kf5 Kf3 51. Bb8 g6+ 52. Kxg6 Kg4 53. Kxf6 h4 54. gxh4 Kxh4 1/2-1/2

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My new book

It has been many years since I wrote my first and only book. It was published sometime in the early 80s and called "Chess Malaysia", a collection of games and essays on chess in Malaysia.

The Veresov is is an opening that I have been playing for over 30 years. Today I am proud to announce that my book "The Veresov: Move by Move" is being published by Everyman Chess, a well known international chess publisher. It will be available by end May or latest by June 2015.

You can download a sample pdf here.

I will receive a limited copy of the book from the publisher and if anyone wishes to place an order from me, you may email me at the address on the "Contact Me" tab.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

World Schools in Pattaya

Thanks to Peter Long for highlighting this interview.

Ng Jen Sheng is currently competing in Pattaya, Thailand in the World Schools. He had an excellent start of 4/4 but then lost three games in a row. As of the eighth round he has five points one point behind the leader , Wong Chi Jit from Singapore.

Malaysia is represented in the U11, U13 , U15 and U17. Malaysia has only one girl player, Rosamund Koo in the Girls U-17. The best player so far is Tan Jun Jing in the Open U-13 with 5.5 points after 8 rounds.