Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Analyzing Masters games

"Better to light a candle than curse the darkness"

After each tournament it is important to go through all your games. I cultivated this habit from very early in my career. You should not only analyze the variations but draw some conclusions:

- How did the opening go for you? Do you need to play another line or even switch to a different opening?
- Does your opening against a particular opponent work (not the result)? Do you need to prepare a different opening/variation for him/her?
- What errors were made? Why did you make such an error? You need to be honest with yourself to avoid succumbing to the same mistakes in future.
- What did you miss during the game? It is easy after the game to analyze with an engine at your side. The engine sees everything especially the tactics and you might be convinced that you saw the same lines as the engine during the game. Do not fool youself. It is very difficult to admit that you missed stuff. Better to understand why.

Some of my games from the recent 2016 Malaysian Masters -

Jimmy Liew-Andin Faizal
Black has just played 32...g5. I was thinking why he did not just resign since I am winning the bishop on d8.  Without thought I played

33. Rdxd8?? Qf6+

Black saves his piece! Instead of being a rook up, I ended in a queen ending  (which I still won since I was two pawns up).  I did not learn my lesson as can be seen in the next game.

Mas Hafizul-Jimmy Liew

Black has a crushing attack just by transferring the rook to the g-file. By this time I was short of time and calculated badly. My original intention was 28...Re5 29. Re2 Rg5+ 30. Rg2 Rxg2 31. Qxg2 Qxe3+ with three pawns for the piece. Won, but needs a lot of technique. An indication of how badly I calculated in time trouble was the line after 30 Rg2 black wins easily with 30...Qh2+

28....Bf4 29. Nc2 Bg3 30. Rf1 Re5 31. Qg2 

I was under the impression that 31...Bh2+ was won after 32 Qxh2 Rg5+ 33 Kh1 Qxf1+ but now I saw 32 Kh1 which I was not expecting. I rejected this line which was a mistake because after 32....Qh4 33 Qxh2 Qe4+ 34 Qg2 (34 Kg1 Rg5+) Rh5+ 35 Kg1 Rg5 36 Qxg5 fxg5 37 Nbd4 it is still not clear white is winning.

I continued to play poorly missing my best chances and Black won easily.

Jimmy Liew-Ng Jen Sheng

28 g5! e6

The only chance for Black. Before going into the variation I had calculated 29. d5 which wins rather easily as Black cannot play 29...f5 30 dxe6 wins a piece. But with the position on the board I thought I spotted an "easier" win.

29. Rd8 Rc7 30 Be2 f5 31. Bb5 

Again I was wondering why Black did not resign since he will be down a piece soon.

31...Kf7 32. Rxd7+ Rxd7 33. Bxd7 Be7 

I had not seen this move which means I was just getting too complacent. The bishop on h6 is trapped but surely a piece is still a piece. And with this in mind I played the worse possible move.

34. f4?? d5!

Now the win is very problematic and I doubt it is even possible. I sacrificed the bishop on h6 for two pawns and even blundered a whole pawn away to reach an opposite color bishop ending which was drawn.

Sumant Subramaniam - Jimmy Liew

I was planning to play 28....Rh7 which "wins" along the open h-file. Good thing I learned a lesson from the previous games and stopped long enough to spot my rook on e8 hanging! I was this close to giving away a whole point.

28....Kg7 29. Qh1?? Rh8 30. Nh2 g4 31. Bd5 Ng5 0-1

The threat of Ng5-h3+ decides.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Malaysian Masters Update

Sumant Subramaniam is the new Malaysia Masters Champion. He scored a massive seven wins and two draws losing only to me. IM Mas had a solid result with no losses to take second. I was third as I had lost to Mas in our individual encounter. Ng Tze Han was a clear fourth placing.

The first four will represent Malaysia in the Men's Olympiad in September in Baku. The fifth member of the team is not known yet as it is up to the MCF President to decide.

In the Women's event, eight rounds have been played.

Tan Li Ting and Alia are already sure of their placing in the top four. Najiha and Puteri Rifqah are a half point behind. But more importantly both Rosamund and Nithyalakshmi have a possibility to catch up even though they are currently one point behind.

The key pairing for the final round is Puteri Rifqah vs Rosamund. If the latter wins, she takes the fourth placing by tie-break.

If Nithyalakshmi beats Alia Bakri  than she will have the same points as the above two players (assuming Rosamund wins). However, Nithya has already lost to Rosamund so it will be immaterial. Either Rosamund or Puteri will be fourth.

The other key pairing is Najiha against Li Ting. I think this is likely to end in a draw as both will qualify to top four.

The final round will start at 9:00 AM tomorrow at DAT Chess Center in Setapak.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

NCC 2016 Playoff Round 5 Games

NCC 2016 Playoff Final Results

NCC 2016 Playoff Round 4 games

NCC 2016 Playoff Round 4

Men Round 4 results
Faizal Andin  drew Lye Lik Zang  
Awang Mohd Syafie lost to Fong Yit San 
Kabir Singh bye

Four players still have the chance to tie for second at the minimum. The only player who is out of contention is Awang Mohd Syafie but he could spoil things for Kabir by beating him in the last round.

Women Round 4 results

Tan Li Ting beat Puteri Rifqah who will have to win the next round to go to tie-breaks. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

NCC 2016 Playoff Round 3

Round 3 results
Lye Lik Zang beat Awang Mohd Syafie
Fong Yit San lost to Kabir Singh
Faizal Andin bye

Lik Zang came back into contention with a win after Awang Mohd Syafie made an incomprehensible error and resigned immediately. At the end, after 23...Nxd5 24 Qxd5+ Kh7 25. h6 will force resignation. He could still save himself after 21... Qe6 22. Qb3 Rd8 23. e4 Nxd4 24.Bxd5 Rxd5 25. Qxd5 Qxd5 26. exd5 Nc2+ 27. Ke2 Nxa1 28. Rxa1 Rxh5
The Women's playoff starts tomorrow between Tan Li Ting and Puteri Rifqah. They are playing for the final spot in the National Squad. The other two that already qualified from the NCC are Nur Nabila and Rosamund Koo.


Both Kabir and Lik Zang have not taken their bye yet so they have only one game left. Theoretically Yit Sand and Faizal Andin can catch up and tie for one or both of the two top spots.

NCC 2016 Playoffs

The playoffs for the National Chess Championship of 2016 will be played from today till Sunday 17th April.  For the open there are five competitors
1. Awang Mohd Syafie Mohd Kifflee
2. Faizal Andin
3. Fong Yit San
4. Kabir Singh Ajeet Singh
5. Lye Lik Zang
These five players will play a 4 round tournament with a bye each.
In the Womens section, there are only two competitors and they are Tan Li Ting and Puteri Rifqah. They will play two games against each other on Sunday 17th April.

Round 1
Lye Lik Zang lost to Fong Yit San 
Faizal Andin drew with Kabir Singh

The first round of the Open playoff saw all four players in fighting mood. Both were exciting game with both black players running very short of time which had a bearing on the results.

Faizal Andin opened with 1 a3 and quickly got into a lost position. In time trouble (he had around two minutes although with a 30 second increment), Kabir did not play the best continuation. Faizal then refused a repetition, banking on his opponent's shortage of time. Brave but risky as he over-pressed and soon got into a lost position again. Kabir missed win after win and eventually a draw was reached by perpetual check.

In the other game, Fong Yit San sacrificed a pawn for active play. He followed it up with a second pawn sacrifice. Lik Zang did not react correctly and the black pieces activity was too much.

The second round started early today at 9:00 AM. Surprisingly it was over in just an hour and fifteen minutes with both games drawn. The third round will start at 3:00 PM.

Round 2
Kabir Sing drew with Lye Lik Zang
Awang Mohd Syafie drew with Faizal Andin

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Our boys in Bangkok

The Bangkok Chess Club Open, the strongest tournament ever held in Thailand has attracted a number of Malaysian players. They range from 12 year old Goh Jie Yi to veteran Lim Kian Hwa. The "wonder boy" (so named by Peter Long), Yeoh Li Tian is also competing and looking for another IM norm to add to his first.

I present some positions from our players below. 

Chan Kim Yew is a 14 year old Malaysian boy who loves chess and plays at almost every opportunity. In 2015 I had already played him three times.

Chan Kim Yew - Franciso Vallejo Pons

From the start Kim Yew has  closed up the position and can sit and wait for his grandmaster opponent to make something out of the position.

 52. Qb1

This is not losing. The best move was to move the queen off the b1-h7 diagonal.

52... f4

The only winning try.

53. Qxg6 f3+ 54. Kd2 fxg2 55. Qxh5 gxh1=Q 56. Qxh7???

White missed a great drawing opportunity with 55. Qe8 gxh1=Q 56. Qd8. There is no way to stop the perpetual check on the black king.

56...Nxf2 57. Qxh1 Nxh1 58. e4 Nxg3 59. exd5 cxd5
60. c6+ Kb8 61. Ba7+ Kc7 62. cxb7 Kxb7 63. Bb6 Nf5 64. Kd3 Kc6 65. Bc5 Kb5 66.
Kc3 d4+ 67. Bxd4 Nxd4 68. Kxd4 Kxb4 69. Ke4 Kxa5 70. Kf4 Kb4 71. Kxg4 Kc4 72.
Kg5 Kd5 0-1

Yeoh Li Tian - Ildar Khairullin

When I saw this position I immediately knew it to be a draw. The extra black pawn is too far advanced.

44...Kb6 45. a4!

This is risky as the pawn is now nearer the black king but this is actually a necessary move. White just has to calculate that he will not lose the pawn.

45. Bf6 Ka5 46. Kb3 d3 

Now we see why 45 a4 was necessary. Black has a square on b5 for his king in case of a check.

White cannot wait with 45. Bf6 Ka5 46. Kb3 d3 Now we see why 45 a4 was necessary. Black has a square on b5 for his king in case of a check. 47. Kc3 Ka4 48. Be7 Be1+ 49. Kxd3 Bb4 50. Bf6 Ka3 51.

Kc2 Kxa2 is just lost for white.

 45... Ka5 46. Kb3 Be3 47. Bf6 Kb6 48. Kc4 Ka5 49. Kb3 d3 

This is the only try to win.

 50. Bd8+ Bb6 51. Be7 Be3 

Black offered a draw. Black has no time to push the pawn. 51... d2 ?? 52. Bb4 mate or 51... Bc7 52. Bb4+ Kb6

53. Kc3 wins the d3 pawn.

Game drawn.

Replay the games below.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

11 in lead at Bangkok Open

11 players are tied for the lead after Monday's third round of the Bangkok Chess Club Open, South-East Asia's strongest tournament of 2016, but defending BCC Open Champion Nigel Short is not one of them.

English Grandmaster Short's title hopes are in tatters after the third round when he was beaten on the counter-attack by previously unheralded Vietnamese 21-year-old Hoang Son Dang.

FIDE Master Dang now joins 6 Grandmasters and 3 International Masters, along with one other FIDE Master, as co-leaders. The leaders include 2014 BCC Open Champion Paco Vallejo - who has already needed 215 moves to win 3 marathon games - and US rising star Awonder Liang, 13.

Monday was the tournament's first and only day with two rounds for the 325 players from 43 countries who are competing in the 16th Bangkok Open tournament, held in the centre of Bangkok at the Dusit Thani Hotel.

The third round was also a great one for local hope Boonsueb Saeheng, one of only two Thai players who shared the lead with a perfect score after the second round. In his third game Saeheng was under extreme pressure playing against Greek Grandmaster Stelios Halkias but hung tough to draw and stay within striking distance of the tournament lead.

Halkias and Short were not the only top seeds to falter in the third round. German Jan Gustafsson, the 2011 Bangkok CC Open Champion, was well held by India's 13-year-old rising star Kalyan Arjun.

The sensation of the second round played earlier on Monday was the loss by English Grandmaster Stephen Gordon to Indonesian 25-year-old Jenius Hakiki. In a position where he was the only player pushing for a win, Gordon lost on time, just one move before the time control. 

"I just forgot about my clock," admitted Gordon. "I had 45 seconds on the clock and then when I looked again it had all gone. It has never happened to me before and I hope never again."

Round 4 of the Bangkok CC Open begins on Tuesday at  2pm at the Dusit Thani Hotel and offers free entry to spectators.
The competition concludes on April 17.

Press Office,
16th Bangkok Chess Club Open