Friday, 27 January 2017

Singapore Youth Girls' Chess Championship 2017

UPDATE: Change of details for the above event
I received an email this morning from Girls in Chess, a group of chess enthusiasts who want to encourage and promote girls chess in Singapore. They are organizing the above event and the registration form can be found here.
 Lunch is provided and you can contact the organisers at 9722 9360 (Wu You) or 9178 0755 (Jiayi). Please show your support for this worthy cause and sign up now!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Announcement - Migrating to

After browsing through for an hour, I realised that the interface is so much more user friendly as compared to Blogger and as such, I would be posting more regularly here

My first article can be found here. Please share or leave a comment if you like it!

I will be posting the non-technical stuff here and one of the things I will discuss soon is the ongoing investigation by the SCF's ethics committee in regard to the Baku Olympiad selection. Given that the outcome has not been decided, I am not at liberty to disclose too much information but I can say that at least 2 other parties have come forward and shared testimonies that are very similar to my experience. The committee has promised us a response soon and once that happens, the truth will surface and everyone can then move forward. 

Going back to the technical stuff, I will also be re-hashing some of my old articles here, and Singapore Chess News but I will of course re-check and update the analysis where necessary. My next article would be a review on the latest chess-site in town, and it would be a really detailed one so, don't mind the cliche, but watch this space!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Shout out to the internet warriors!

I have recently spoke to some friends (one of whom has known me since I was in primary school) who appear to have been grossly, and perhaps intentionally misinformed over the unfortunate debacle, that is, the selection process of the Singapore team for the Baku Olympiad. There was a laughable amount of rumors that are still floating around in the chess scene and the most ridiculous thing about this is that these rumors are likely spread by random fellows who have no clue what they are saying.

What I am puzzled is that even people who I've known for decades had not even bothered to do basic fact checking with the protagonist but have instead chosen to listen to stories that are unsurprisingly one-sided. It is of course no wonder that not 1 person has looked at me in the face and confronted me about the amazing and terrible things that I've supposedly said and done!

And to the various armchair warriors, you know what?

It is exceptionally cheap & disgraceful to abuse someone while hiding in the shadows. You must lead a sorry life indeed, and I encourage you to continue sitting on your moral high horse as that must be one of your very few simple pleasures in life. 

Thankfully, I've come to learn that life is tough, and often very unfair and I would be a very miserable person indeed if I am affected by every unfair comment that is thrown in my direction!

The initial selection was utterly shambolic and a lot of credit has to be given to the Exco for the rectification. This happened not because of 1 blog article, but because common sense and logic were exercised after all the facts were put across.

As a legendary wiseman once said, Engage Your Brain before Typing on Keyboard!

Friday, 14 October 2016

My analysis of Tin - Hakimifard, Baku 2016 - A tremendous fighting game from our very young debutant.

For a change, I've decided to analyse a game between Tin Ruiqi, (Jingyao's younger sister) and the Iranian board 3, Hakimifard. Even though Ruiqi was outrated by over 400 points, she put up a great fight and was very close to holding her opponent to a very creditable draw. Unfortunately, after over 6 hours and 125 moves, she went down in flames. Still the game is quite instructive and I should mention that the Iranian coach was very impressed with Ruiqi's fighting spirit.


A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "Olympiad Women 2016"] [Site "Baku AZE"] [Date "2016.09.03"] [Round "2.14"] [White "Tin, Ruiqi"] [Black "Hakimifard, G."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "1892"] [BlackElo "2308"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "250"] [EventDate "2016.09.02"] [EventType "team"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "AZE"] [SourceTitle "The Week in Chess 1139"] [Source "Mark Crowther"] [SourceDate "2016.09.05"] [WhiteTeam "Singapore"] [BlackTeam "Iran"] [WhiteTeamCountry "SIN"] [BlackTeamCountry "IRI"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. d4 Nc6 6. Bb5 Bd6 7. O-O Nge7 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Nb3 Bd6 11. h3 Bf5 12. Be3 Bg6 13. Qd2 Qc7 14. Rad1 Rad8 15. Nbd4 {White has gotten a standard French Tarrasch/c3 Sicilian IQP position and she is slightly better. Generally in these positions, the e7 knight is a lot better on the f6 square where it eyes the e4 square and it doesn't get in the way of its counterpart on c6. Still, there is a lot of play in the position.} Na5 16. b3 Nac6 17. Bd3 a6 18. Bxg6 Nxg6 $6 {Strangely allowing White's next move.} 19. Nf5 Nce5 20. N3d4 ({I do not really see an immediate refutation if White goes} 20. Qxd5 $5 {, plucking a pawn.} Bb4 (20... Qxc3 $4 21. Nxd6 $18) 21. Qe4 Bxc3 (21... Qxc3 22. Nxe5 Qxe5 23. Qxb4 (23. Nh6+ $5) 23... Qxf5 24. Qxb7 $16) 22. Rc1 {and Black is caught in an unpleasant pin. }) 20... Rfe8 21. Nxd6 $1 {Each exchange increases White's advantage and Ruiqi has an additional idea as shown in the next few moves.} Qxd6 22. Rfe1 f6 23. f4 $1 Nc6 24. f5 $1 Nf8 25. Bf4 Qd7 26. g4 $1 {I like White's handling of the middlegame so far. Black's f8 knight is a very poor beast and White has a straightforward plan of playing in the centre by doubling rooks, or prepare an attack with g4-g5. White was also not afraid of throwing her kingside pawns forward even though this exposes her king somewhat. At the same time, it is also extremely important to consider black's potential counterplay from the position and it is clear that her only chance lies in putting a piece on the e4 square. White has to be careful and prevent this at any cost.} Ne5 27. Kg2 { A safe move, but not especially essential. Also, the King might be safer on h2 or h1, allowing White to use the g-file for her rooks at some point.} (27. Re3 $1 {, seems strong. White can continue with Rde1, or Qf2-g3, attacking Black's stronghold on the e5 square. At the same time, it is also nice to provide additional cover on the f3-square, further ruling out any potential cheapos.}) 27... b5 28. Re2 {A good solid move.} ({The direct} 28. g5 $1 {also looks very good.} Nc6 (28... Nf7 29. gxf6 gxf6 30. Rg1 {with a big attack.}) 29. Rxe8 Rxe8 (29... Qxe8 30. Re1 Qd7 31. Ne6 Re8 32. Nc5 Qf7 33. Rxe8 Qxe8 34. Qxd5+ $18) 30. Nxc6 Qxc6 31. Qxd5+ Qxd5+ 32. Rxd5 Re2+ 33. Kf3 Rxa2 34. Rd8 $1 {wins the knight. Still, I can understand the reluctance to weaker her king even further as these lines were not that easy to calculate.}) 28... Qb7 29. Rde1 Nfd7 { Here, alarm bells should already be ringing. The knight is heading for e4!} 30. Kg3 $2 {I believe Ruiqi had overlooked the danger to her position. As happens very often in chess, 1 bad move could turn the position around drastically.} ({ White would have liked to go} 30. Ne6 $2 {but it is clear now that the King is on a bad square after} d4+ $1) ({Perhaps, White was forced to go} 30. g5 $1 { when} Nc5 31. Bxe5 fxe5 32. Rxe5 Ne4 33. Qf4 Rxe5 34. Qxe5 $16 Nxg5 $2 35. f6 Ne4 36. fxg7 $18 {wins.}) 30... Nc5 31. Kg2 {I believe the next few moves were time trouble induced.} Ne4 32. Qe3 Rc8 33. Rc2 Re7 34. Kh2 Rec7 (34... b4 $5 35. cxb4 $2 Rxc2+ 36. Nxc2 Rc7 37. Re2 $2 Rc3 $1 $19) 35. Rec1 Qb6 36. Kg2 Qa5 37. b4 $6 ({Don't give away more squares especially in time trouble if you can help it!} 37. Ne2 $1 {Defending passively and preparing Ng3 when the opportunity arises is good.}) 37... Qb6 38. Kh2 Nc4 (38... Qxd4 $3 {is a beautiful shot.} 39. cxd4 Rxc2+ 40. Rxc2 Rxc2+ 41. Kg1 Rc3 42. Qe2 Nf3+ 43. Kf1 g5 (43... Nxd4 $2 44. Qd1) 44. fxg6 hxg6 {and White is hopelessly tied up.}) 39. Qd3 Re7 40. Re2 Rd7 41. Ne6 Qb7 42. Rd1 Nb6 43. Rc2 Na4 44. Rdc1 Rc4 45. Be3 Qb8+ (45... Naxc3) 46. Bf4 Qc8 47. Bd2 Qc6 48. Be1 Re7 49. Nd4 Qd6+ 50. Kg2 Rec7 51. Ne2 Qe5 52. Bg3 Nxg3 53. Qxg3 Qe4+ 54. Qf3 Kf7 55. Kf2 g6 56. fxg6+ hxg6 57. Qxe4 dxe4 58. Ke3 Rc8 59. a3 f5 60. gxf5 gxf5 61. Kf4 Kf6 {The dust has settled and after missing several wins earlier, Black is now only a little better. White's king is very well placed, blocking the connected passed pawns and the weak a6 pawn promises White sufficient counterplay.} 62. Rd1 Nxc3 63. Nxc3 {A natural but inaccurate move.} ({The difficult} 63. Rd6+ $1 Ke7 64. Ke5 $11 {is very strong. Keeping both rooks enhances White's counterplay and Black can no longer hold on to both central passed pawns.}) 63... Rxc3 64. Rxc3 Rxc3 65. Rd6+ Ke7 66. Rxa6 Rf3+ 67. Ke5 Kf7 68. Kd4 Rd3+ 69. Ke5 e3 70. Kxf5 Rd5+ $2 (70... Rd7 $3 {with the idea} 71. Rf6+ Ke8 $1 {would have won cleanly. Now, White has a lifeline and she went for it.}) 71. Ke4 e2 72. Kxd5 e1=Q 73. Kc5 Qe5+ 74. Kb6 Ke6 75. Ra5 Qb8+ 76. Kc5 Ke5 77. Kc6 Qe8+ 78. Kc5 Qb8 79. Kc6 Qe8+ 80. Kc5 Qd7 81. Kb6 Kd4 82. Rxb5 Qd8+ 83. Kb7 Qd7+ 84. Kb6 Qd6+ 85. Kb7 Kc4 86. Ra5 {We've finally arrived at the most instructive part of the game. A few fundamental things that we can quickly establish: 1) h3 pawn would be lost sooner or later; 2) White's rook has to remain on the a5 square where it is safely protected and guards the critical a3 pawn; 3) In order to win, Black has to force White's King into the corner, placing White in zugzwang and forcing the rook to leave its anchor on a5. Ben and I were following the game live in our hotel room and we were initially not able to achieve point 3. However, it is now quite clear that Black can place the White king in a series of small zugzwangs and then it is only a matter of time before the rook is forced to leave the a5 square. Ben then pointed out that White can always go Ra6, and goes back to a5 everytime the king is placed in zugzwang. He is right of course, and the position is drawn.} Qd7+ 87. Kb6 Kb3 88. h4 Qd6+ 89. Kb7 Qe7+ 90. Kb6 Qxh4 91. Kc6 Qf6+ 92. Kc7 Qe7+ 93. Kc6 Qe6+ 94. Kc7 Qc4+ 95. Kb6 ( 95. Kb7 Qf7+ (95... Qd4 96. Kc7 Qg7+ 97. Kc6 (97. Kb6 Qd7 $1 98. Ra6 $1) 97... Qf6+ 98. Kc7 Qe7+ 99. Kc6 Qd8 100. Kb7 Qd7+ 101. Kb8 Qc6) 96. Kc8 Qf8+ 97. Kc7 Qe8 98. Kb6 ({For the sake of argument,} 98. b5 {also draws but with very little time, I would be nervous to push any of these pawns as they might all disappear in a jiffy!} Kc4 99. b6 {and there is no way to win the a5 rook.}) 98... Qd7 99. Ra6 Qc8 100. Ra5 Qb8+ 101. Kc6 Kc4 102. Rc5+ Kd4 103. Ra5 { and Black has not made any progress.}) 95... Qc8 {Zugzwang! Now White has a critical decision to make and in time trouble, it is perfectly understandable that she made the wrong choice here.} 96. Ka7 $2 (96. Ra6 $1 {is the only move, and Black has no way of making progress. For example,} Qb8+ 97. Kc6 Kc4 98. Ra5 $11) (96. Ra7 $2 Qb8+ 97. Rb7 Qd6+ $19 {Black gets all the pawns eventually.}) (96. Kb5 Qc7 $1 {Another zugzwang!} 97. Ra6 Qb7+ 98. Rb6 Qd5+ $19) (96. b5 Qd8+ 97. Ka6 Kc4 98. b6 (98. Ra4+ Kc5) 98... Qa8# {is a pictureresque mate}) 96... Qc7+ 97. Ka8 Qb6 $1 {Point 3 achieved and now there is no respite.} 98. Ra7 Kc4 99. Ra5 Kd4 100. Ra7 Kd5 101. Rd7+ Kc6 102. Rh7 Qa6+ 103. Kb8 Qxa3 104. Rh6+ Kb5 105. Kb7 Kxb4 106. Rh4+ Kc5 107. Rh5+ Kd6 108. Rh6+ Ke5 109. Rh5+ Kf4 110. Rb5 Qd6 111. Ra5 Ke4 112. Ra4+ Kd5 113. Ra5+ Kc4 114. Ra6 Qd7+ 115. Kb6 Kb4 116. Ra7 Qd6+ 117. Kb7 Kb5 118. Kc8 Qf8+ 119. Kb7 Qd8 120. Ra1 Qe7+ 121. Kc8 Qe8+ 122. Kb7 Qe4+ 123. Kc8 Qc4+ 124. Kb7 Qf7+ 125. Kc8 Qg8+ 0-1

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Analysis of Utegaliyev - Goh from the Baku Olympiad - Life is tough!

***Addendum: The Rook & Bishop vs Rook ending at move 102 was covered specifically by Karsen Muller & Frank Lamprecht on page 301 of Fundamental Chess Endings. My annotations are slightly confusing there. What I meant to say was that in that specific position, the guiding principle is that the White king should stay on e1 and the rook should be ready to block on f1 whenever possible.

And so after 3 tournaments in Europe, I am back home and back to work. It was of course disappointing that I had failed to make my final GM norm but there were also some positives, the most important of which is that I am a lot wiser now and I think I know what to work on moving forward in order to fix the gaping holes in my chess knowledge. I will also have my highest rating to date although in all fairness, 2457 at the age of 33 is hardly impressive and is certainly nothing to shout about.  The truth is that when I'm on a fine streak, making a norm is entirely within the realms of possibility but I lack sufficient knowledge in certain types of position and I did not have the ability to react in unfamilar and strategically or tactically complex games.

In this and the next few posts, I will analyse the games which I felt to be most instructive. Which probably means there will be very few wins since I only have 1 really good result which most who followed the Olympiad might know by now.

The most painful game by far was probably the game against Utegaliyev, a 2513 untitled player from Kazakhstan. Just to provide some context - I had lost my previous game against a 2500 GM from Estonia and it was important for me to bounce back as fast as I could.

The game began well and I managed to outplay my opponent from the opening and was clearly better, if not winning, and blundered in time trouble at a critical juncture. After a topsy turvy middle game where my opponent somehow managed to hang on with very little time left, we reached a bishop and rook vs rook ending and the conclusion to the game was just, well, epic....

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "42nd Baku Olympiad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.09.09"] [Round "7"] [White "Utegaliyev Azamat"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C03"] [WhiteElo "2513"] [BlackElo "2444"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "278"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Bd3 c5 5. dxc5 ({In yesterday's Inter-Professional games, IM Terry Toh continued with} 5. Ngf3 Nf6 6. exd5 { which is a quiet alternative to the main lines. Here, I went} exd5 $6 {hoping to enter a similar position to this game but White's specific move order prevented this possibility.} (6... Qxd5 $1 {is the mainline}) 7. dxc5 $1 a5 8. O-O O-O 9. a4 $1 Na6 10. Nb3 Bg4 $6 (10... Nxc5 {is probably fine for Black although its a little dull.}) 11. Be3 {and here, I blundered terribly with} Nd7 $4 12. Bxa6 Rxa6 13. Qxd5 {and White was clearly better in Terry Toh - Goh Wei Ming, Kevin, Inter-Pro Games 2016 although I somehow managed to win eventually. }) 5... Nf6 6. Qe2 O-O 7. Ngf3 a5 8. O-O Na6 9. exd5 {This allows a comfortable IQP for Black.} (9. e5 Nd7 10. c3 Naxc5 11. Bc2 b6 {was analysed in Sax - Goh, 2011 elsewhere on this blog.}) 9... exd5 10. Nb3 ({After the natural} 10. Re1 {, I had remembered John Watson's comment in Play the French 4 that} Re8 $1 {is the move, insisting on taking c5 with the knight and ensuring an active game.}) 10... a4 $1 {In my opinion, words are not able to describe just how important this move is to justify the viability of Black's set-up but I would try.} ({I had reached this position in a previous game with Sergei Tiviakov and was slowly but surely grounded after} 10... Nxc5 $2 11. Be3 Nce4 12. Nbd4 Bc5 13. h3 Re8 14. c3 Qb6 (14... a4 $1 {was probably Black's best chance.}) 15. Rfe1 h6 16. Bb5 Re7 17. a4 $1 $14 {and White had gotten everything he could possibly want from the opening. After the game, I asked the Dutch super GM where I went wrong and he simply replied that in this particular pawn structure, it is very important not to allow White to achieve the set-up with Bb5-a4. In this particular position, it is clear that: 1) Black has no satisfactory way of developing his light square bishop and a move like ...Bd7 is only helping White who generally wants to exchange pieces in an IQP position; 2) Black's typical counterplay on the queenside is absolutely stymied. The b2 pawn is always safe and there is no a5-a4-a3, breaking up the queenside pawn structure. For what it's worth, I will show the rest of the game with light comments.} Qc7 (17... Nd6 18. Qd3 $1 Nxb5 19. Qxb5 Qxb5 20. axb5 $14) (17... Bd7 $6 18. Bxd7 Nxd7 19. Nf5 $1 $14 {illustrates the dangers of leaving the light squares unattended. The traditionally bad French bishop does cover important squares as well.}) 18. Nd2 Bd7 {I didn't see any other way to connect my rooks.} 19. Bxd7 Qxd7 20. N2b3 b6 21. Qb5 Qc7 22. Nf5 Re5 23. Nxc5 Nxc5 24. Nd4 $1 {At this stage, I was already feeling that I was on the way to becoming a victim of yet another of Tivi's positional masterclass.} Rae8 25. b4 $5 Ncd7 26. Qc6 Qxc6 27. Nxc6 R5e6 28. Nd4 Re4 29. bxa5 bxa5 30. Nb3 Nb6 31. Nd2 $1 R4e6 32. Reb1 $1 {Beautiful piece co-ordination. Black could only watch and wait for the execution that is to come.} Nfd7 33. Rb5 Rc8 34. Bd4 $1 $16 Re2 35. Nb3 Re6 36. Rxa5 Ra8 37. Rxa8+ Nxa8 38. Nc5 Nxc5 39. Bxc5 Ra6 40. Kf1 Nc7 41. a5 Nb5 42. Bb4 d4 43. c4 Na7 44. Bc5 Nc6 45. Bb6 Kf8 46. Ke2 Ke7 47. Kd3 Nb4+ 48. Ke4 Ke6 49. Ra4 Nc6 50. Bxd4 f5+ 51. Kd3 g5 52. Bb6 Kd6 53. Kc3 Ne5 54. Ra2 Nd7 55. Kb4 Kc6 56. Re2 {1-0 (56) Tiviakov,S (2644)-Goh,W (2441) Petaling Jaya 2013}) 11. Nbd4 Nxc5 {Now a move like Bb5 no longer makes any sense as it will be loose on that square. Black has fully equalised at this stage and has active counterplay.} 12. h3 (12. Nf5 $2 {looks attractive but I had seen that after} Bxf5 13. Bxf5 a3 $1 14. b3 Nfe4 {followed by ...Re8 and ...Bf6, Black gets very nice counterplay.}) (12. Be3 Nfe4 13. a3 Bf6 14. Rad1 {and here, both} Nd6 ({or} 14... Bd7 {look fine for Black.})) 12... Nfe4 13. Be3 Bf6 14. a3 Re8 15. Bb5 Bd7 16. Rad1 ({The exchange of light square bishops is fine now as after} 16. Bxd7 Qxd7 {, Black has ideas such as ... Ne4-d6-c4, where it cannot be chased away without compromising the White pawn structure.}) 16... Nd6 $1 {An all-purpose and rather thematic move. Black covers all the critical light squares such as b5, c4 and f5, opens up the e-file and allows possibilities such as Nce4.} 17. c3 {I am not certain whether White has seen my next few moves at this point but I would be very surprised if he had allowed me to weaken his pawn structure voluntarily. Having said that, I couldn't see anything better than this natural move.} Bxb5 18. Nxb5 Nf5 $1 $15 {White has no way to avoid ...Nxe3 fe3 which weakens his structure in the kingside substantially. Black's dark square bishop could prove to be an important piece and Black's knight was about to hop to the useful e4 square, eyeing the g3 square.} 19. Nfd4 Nxe3 20. fxe3 Bg5 $6 { A human but inaccurate move.} (20... Ne4 21. Rf3 Be5 $1 $17 {was more to the point}) 21. Nf5 $2 (21. Nc2 $1 {is a surprising defensive resource. White continues with Rf3 and Nbd4 and suddenly White's position is ultra solid.}) 21... Re5 $2 (21... Ne4 $1 {prevents the note to White's next move, and threatens ...g6 followed by ...Ng3.}) 22. Qg4 $2 {This is an exceptionally tempting move as it keeps ideas such as h4 or Nxg7 but in fact Black seizes the advantage by force.} (22. Nbd6 $1 {with the idea} g6 23. Nh6+ $3 Bxh6 24. Nxf7 Bxe3+ 25. Kh1 Qe7 26. Nxe5 Qxe5 27. Rde1 Re8 28. Qf3 $1 {is ridiculously complicated. Black may have won 2 pieces for the rook but I don't see a convenient way for Black to untangle himself.}) 22... Ne4 $1 {I took a long time to find this important move but it was worth it as Black had now seized a clear edge. My immediate threat was ...g6 followed by h5 when White's position simply collapses.} 23. Nbd4 g6 24. h4 gxf5 $1 {It looks ridiculous to open up the g-file but I had calculated that Black holds in all lines.} 25. Rxf5 h5 $1 26. Qf3 Rxf5 27. Nxf5 Bxh4 28. Rf1 Bg5 29. Qxh5 {I had navigated safely through the first set of chaos but now in severe time trouble, I played an absolute howler.} Qb6 $4 ({In a moment of madness, I had thought that after} 29... Ra6 $1 30. Rf3 Rg6 31. Rh3 Bf6 32. Qh7+ Kf8 33. Qh8+ Bxh8 34. Rxh8+ { was mate but of course Black could simply play} Rg8 {and it would have been all over.}) 30. Ne7+ $1 {I would have surely seen this had I given more thought to my previous move. Now White has at least a draw.} Bxe7 31. Qxf7+ Kh8 32. Qh5+ Kg8 33. Qxd5+ Kh8 34. Qxe4 Bf6 35. Rf3 Kg7 36. Qg4+ Kf7 $4 (36... Kf8 $1 37. Qg6 Ra6 38. g4 Qd6 $1 39. g5 Qd1+ 40. Kg2 Qe2+ 41. Rf2 Qg4+ {would have forced a draw.}) 37. Qd7+ $4 {The position is incredibly complex and almost impossible to navigate in time trouble.} (37. Qh5+ $1 Ke7 38. Qh7+ Ke6 39. Rxf6+ $1 $18 {would have won immediately.}) 37... Kg6 $4 (37... Kg8 $1 $11) 38. Rg3+ $4 (38. Qg4+ $1 $18) 38... Bg5 39. Qd3+ Kf6 40. Rf3+ Kg7 41. Qd7+ Kh8 { Time control reached and both players get some time to catch their breath. Incredibly, Black had somehow stayed alive despite the vulnerability of the Black king and 42.Rh3+ can now be met with 42...Bh6. I took a while to come to terms with the position and realised that there is no clear way for White to continue the attack.} 42. Kh1 {White took a long time to make this move and my guess was this was more out of desperation than anything. White probably wasn't able to find anything useful.} Bxe3 43. Qd5 Re8 44. Qd7 Ra8 45. Qd5 { White is content with a draw but I had no intention of finishing the game this early.} Re8 46. Qd7 Rd8 $1 {No draw!} 47. Qxa4 Bh6 48. Rh3 Qe6 $1 {Black's pieces are slowly but surely getting coordinated.} 49. Rh5 Qg6 50. Rh3 Kh7 51. Qf4 Qe6 52. Qh4 Rd2 53. b4 Re2 ({GM Bong suggested} 53... b5 $1 {, locking up White's queenside majority before searching for a concrete breakthrough.}) 54. Kh2 Re4 55. Qh5 Qf6 56. Qf3 Qe5+ {Now both sides were back in time trouble and my opponent showed remarkable resilience not to collapse in this tricky position.} 57. Qg3 Qe6 58. Qc7+ Kg6 59. Qg3+ Rg4 60. Qd3+ Kg7 61. Qd1 Qe5+ 62. g3 Re4 {I felt I was almost winning here but annoyingly, White continued to find only moves. I have to say I was very impressed with my opponent's resourcefulness.} 63. Qd7+ Kg6 64. Qd3 $1 Qf5 65. Kg2 $1 Be3 66. Qc2 Bg5 67. Rh1 $1 {I somehow managed to get myself in a mess down the b1-g6 diagonal and Black was now forced to change queens.} Re3 68. Qxf5+ Kxf5 69. Rh7 {The infamous rook bishop vs rook ending!} Rxc3 70. Rxb7 Rxa3 71. Kh3 Bf6 72. Rb8 Rb3 73. b5 Be5 74. Rf8+ Ke4 75. Rg8 Rxb5 76. Kh4 Kf5 77. g4+ $6 {This doesn't throw away the draw but it makes life more difficult.} ({It was better to keep the pawn on g3 when I was not sure how I could even win the pawn successfully. } 77. Kh3) 77... Kf6 78. Rf8+ Kg6 79. Rf5 Bf6+ 80. Kg3 Rb4 81. Kf3 Bg5 82. Kg3 Rb3+ 83. Rf3 Bh4+ 84. Kg2 Rb2+ 85. Kh3 Be7 86. Rd3 Kg5 87. Rd5+ Kf4 88. Rf5+ Ke4 89. Rf1 Rb3+ 90. Kg2 Bd6 91. Re1+ Kf4 92. Rf1+ Kxg4 {This is of course a drawn ending but I didn't play 5.5 hours with the intention of giving away easy draws. There is no need to give any specific details on how to play this endgame as my opponent actually managed to demonstrate the 2 theoretical drawing methods. This will be clearer in the coming moves.} 93. Rf2 Bc5 94. Rf7 Rb2+ 95. Kf1 Be3 96. Ke1 Bf4 97. Rd7 Kf3 98. Kd1 Rh2 99. Rd3+ Be3 100. Rd8 Rg2 101. Rd7 Ke4 102. Ke1 Bd4 {We have reached the first critical position and here, the guiding principle is that the defending side should move his king towards the corner with the square with the opposite color of the bishop. In this case, White should keep his king on e1 and be ready to block with his rook on f1.} 103. Kf1 $4 {A huge huge error and a great opportunity for me to finally finish the game off. Unfortunately, I did not grasp this lifeline....} (103. Rf7 {, or other rook moves would have been drawn.}) 103... Rf2+ $1 104. Ke1 Ke3 105. Rd8 (105. Rxd4 Rh2 {was a little trap but one I did not expect my opponent to fall into.}) 105... Rf3 106. Kd1 Kd3 107. Ke1 Rg3 $4 {Yet another time trouble howler.} ({I had not realised that White was virtually in zugzwang here and he had to keep his rook on the d-file to prevent ...Bc3+ and mate. Hence, the simple} 107... Rf7 108. Rd6 ({or} 108. Rd5 Re7+ 109. Kd1 Rg7 $19) 108... Rg7 $1 {would have forced instant resignation.}) 108. Rf8 $1 Rg1+ 109. Rf1 Rg2 110. Rf8 Rg7 111. Rf5 Ra7 112. Kf1 Rg7 113. Ke1 Ke3 114. Kd1 Rg2 115. Rf8 Kd3 116. Ke1 Rg1+ 117. Rf1 Rg8 118. Rf7 Be3 119. Rd7+ Ke4 120. Ke2 Rg2+ 121. Kd1 Ra2 122. Rd8 $4 ({As mentioned earlier, it is important to keep the king on the e1 square.} 122. Ke1 $1) 122... Bd4 123. Ke1 Ke3 $4 {Throwing away the win a 2nd time.} (123... Kd3 $1 124. Kf1 Rf2+ 125. Ke1 Rf7 { transposes to the win above.}) 124. Kf1 Rf2+ 125. Kg1 Rd2 126. Rf8 Be5 127. Re8 Kf4 128. Kf1 Ra2 129. Rf8+ Ke4 130. Rf2 Ra1+ 131. Kg2 Bd4 132. Re2+ Be3 133. Kg3 Ra8 134. Rg2 Rg8+ 135. Kh3 {The Cochrane, or 7th rank defence is the most straight forward way to defend this ending and here I was finally resigned to the draw.} Bg5 136. Kg3 Bf4+ 137. Kh3 Ra8 138. Kg4 Rg8+ 139. Kh3 Rxg2 1/2-1/2

After the game, I was completely exhausted but while waiting for the bus to bring me back to the hotel, I suddenly had an epiphany of some sort. Of course, I had seen a particular game (live!) 8 years ago at the Dresden Olympiad and marvelled at the technique that Black demonstrated in that game:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "Dresden ol (Men) 38th"] [Site "Dresden"] [Date "2008.11.17"] [Round "5"] [White "Leko, Peter"] [Black "Ivanchuk, Vassily"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B42"] [WhiteElo "2747"] [BlackElo "2786"] [Annotator "KGWm8"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/7R/6k1/6b1/8/r7/6K1 w - - 0 119"] [PlyCount "18"] [EventDate "2008.11.13"] [EventType "team-swiss"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "GER"] [SourceTitle "CBM 128"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2009.01.28"] [WhiteTeam "Hungary"] [BlackTeam "Ukraine"] [WhiteTeamCountry "HUN"] [BlackTeamCountry "UKR"] 119. Rh2 $1 {The Cochrane or 7th rank defence!} Ra1+ 120. Kf2 Kf4 121. Rh8 Ra2+ 122. Ke1 Re2+ 123. Kf1 Kg3 124. Rd8 $4 ({This position is actually very similar to my game and it was easy for me to find} 124. Rf8 $3 Re3 125. Kg1 $1 {which would have held.}) 124... Re3 125. Rg8 {This is mre or less the same position as my game and Chucky demonstrated the win nicely.} Re7 $1 126. Rg5 Rh7 $1 127. Ke1 Rd7 $1 0-1

Yep, chess is a really cruel, cruel game....

Sunday, 18 September 2016

My analysis of Maze - Goh, Helsingor 2016

A highly critical game that I needed to at least make a draw to keep my GM norm chances alive. Ultimately, I was overpowered by my strong opponent but the game was very complex and I had good chances at certain points in the game. Enjoy!

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)
[Event "Xtracon Chess Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.07.30"] [Round "9"] [White "Sebastien Maze"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C18"] [WhiteElo "2628"] [BlackElo "2435"] [Annotator "Wei Ming"] [PlyCount "109"] {This was an extremely important game in the tournament as a win would mean a GM norm and a draw followed by a win in the last round would have given me very good chances for a 10 game norm. Just like any other sport, it is important to come to a chess game and focus all your energy on the game but if there's a good time to really use everything in the tank, this would be it. Unfortunately, I started my pre-game preparation by doing something I really shouldn't have done - I played in the festival's blitz tournament the night before! The tournament ended around midnight and I was completely exhausted at the end. I could have put the 3-4 hrs to good use by checking my lines and catch a good night sleep. I tried to justify my decision by thinking that I should play the blitz despite the importance of the next day's game as I have already paid the entry fees. This was irrational and I was merely trying to come up with excuses to make myself feel better on making a bad decision. The result may or may not have been different but the blitz definitely broke my momentum somewhat and I heavily regretted playing it especially after this game.} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 $6 {As already mentioned, a win would grant me a 9 game GM norm, and that a draw in this round, followed by a win in the last round might also be sufficient for a 10 game norm. As such, given that a win is not particular vital at this point, I understood the importance of playing solidly especially when I knew that my opponent would probably play seriously for the win. In this respect, it can be argued that the French Winawer, an opening known for its huge complexity and aggressiveness is not the best opening choice for this particular round. It is therefore quite important to be flexible in your opening preparation especially when you may need to face very strong opposition. You should always have a very solid line and a line where you can play for a win although that normally comes in exchange for some risk. In my opinion, this flexibility in your repertoire is even more important when you are having the Black pieces.} 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 {This particular move order is played to avoid some of White's options.} ({For instance,} 6... Qc7 7. Qg4 Ne7 8. Bd3 {is a line that is not that dangerous but it requires a fair amount of study.}) (6... Qa5 {is probably a more "solid" line that I mentioned earlier and it has recently become very fashionable mainly thanks to the efforts of GM Kovalenko who has scored many wins with it recently.}) 7. h4 $1 {My opponent played this very quickly and has obviously prepped this. I smelt a rat but decided to continue with the mainline in my notes anyway.} (7. Qg4 cxd4 8. Qxg7 ({Comparing with my note to Black's 6th,} 8. Bd3 {can now be met with} Qa5 $1 {although there are complications there that have to be worked out. The young Indian star Parimajan Negi had recommended this approach in his 1.e4 GM Repertoire series.} ) 8... Rg8 9. Qxh7 Qc7 {is the traditional Winawer Poisoned Pawn, one of my favourite openings of all time. In round 4, my game with Daniel Naroditsky continued} 10. Ne2 Nbc6 11. f4 dxc3 {and now, the young American talent continued with the trendy} 12. h4 $5 {and had very good chances to obtain a significant opening edge. The game eventually ended in a wild draw.}) 7... Nbc6 {A slightly different move order that was designed to confuse. I had already played 2 games with this move and it was slightly naive of me to repeat the line despite knowing that my opponent must have prepped seriously against this. On the other hand, I didn't have a back-up to what I usually play and this cost me dearly in this game.} ({After what transpired in the game, perhaps the classical move order with} 7... Qa5 8. Bd2 Qa4 {should be considered.} 9. h5 { and now, a recent game of the French expert Emmanuel Berg continued} b6 (9... h6 $5) 10. h6 gxh6 11. Nf3 Ba6 12. Bxa6 Nxa6 13. Bxh6 cxd4 14. Nxd4 (14. cxd4 Rc8 15. Rc1 Rg8 {is fine for Black according to Berg.}) 14... Rc8 15. Qf3 Nc5 16. Bg7 Rg8 17. Rxh7 {and now in Smirin,I (2644)-Berg,E (2549) Minsk 2014,} Nc6 $3 $17 {with the idea of defending f7 with ...Rc7 if the need arises gives Black a significant advantage.}) 8. h5 $1 ({After the innocuous} 8. Nf3 {,} f6 $1 $132 {leads to interesting play where I believe Black is able to generate a fair amount of counterplay. This has been analysed in Steel - Goh, Istanbul Olympiad 2012 elsewhere on the blog.}) 8... Qa5 9. Bd2 cxd4 $6 {Again, naively following a previous game of mine and continuing to walk into my opponent's prep. Against a 2600+ GM who is known to be well versed with high level engines, this is almost a suicidal approach. However, I was unable to find a satisfactory alternative and if White indeeds gets an opening edge by force, the entire move order with 7...Nbc6?! may no longer be playable.} (9... Qa4 10. h6 gxh6 {is a line although I think} 11. Rb1 $1 {gives White some initiative.}) ({I was also not entirely satisfied with Black's position after} 9... h6 10. Qg4 Nf5 11. Bd3 O-O 12. Nf3 {when Black seems to be passively placed.}) (9... Bd7 {is the old mainline that was favored by the famous French expert, Germany's Wolfgang Uhlmann.}) 10. cxd4 Qa4 11. h6 $1 {White continues to blitz out the opening moves. Here, I was starting to feel more and more intimidated.} ({The famous stem game Kasparov - Anand continued} 11. Nf3 Nxd4 12. Bd3 { but this line has been largely diffused recently.}) ({The position arising after} 11. c3 Qxd1+ 12. Rxd1 h6 {is also known to be completely fine for Black despite White's having the bishop pair as Black would gain sufficient counterplay down the c-file and playing on the light squares with ...Bd7, ... Na5 & ...Rc8.}) 11... Qxd4 12. Nf3 Qe4+ 13. Be2 Nxe5 14. Bc3 $1 {The principled option.} ({Both} 14. Kf1 Nxf3 15. Bxf3 Qc4+ 16. Be2 Qd4 {and}) (14. hxg7 Rg8 15. Kf1 Nxf3 16. Bxf3 Qd4 {are fine for Black.}) 14... f6 15. hxg7 ({ A recent game of mine that was in the database continued} 15. Nxe5 fxe5 16. Qd2 $2 g6 $1 {and Black was much better although I eventually suffered a horribly painful defeat. This was covered in another article elsewhere on this blog. This fact that this game is on the database has not slipped my mind and at this juncture, I was certain that I was walking into some high level opening preparation. In such sharp lines, it is entirely possible to lose immediately from the opening with deep analysis and I became worried.}) 15... Rg8 16. Qd2 $1 $146 {The big novelty that my opponent had prepped.} ({The mainline in my notes continued} 16. Nxe5 fxe5 17. Qd3 Qxd3 18. Bxd3 d4 19. Bb4 Rxg7 20. Rxh7 Rxh7 21. Bxh7 {and in ½-½ (62) Miton,K (2383)-Shabalov,A (2620) Stratton Mountain 1999, White has sufficient compensation for the pawn deficit in view of his powerful bishops.}) 16... Rxg7 17. O-O-O $1 {Energetic follow up from my opponent. White is a couple of pawns down so he had to continue his active play and not allow Black to consolidate his forcces easily. Specifically, it was essential for him to stop Black from castling long.} ({For example,} 17. Nxe5 fxe5 18. f3 Qf5 19. Bd3 Qf6 20. Rh6 (20. Bxh7 $6 {gives Black time to do what he wants with} Bd7 21. Rh6 Qf8 $1 {with the idea} 22. Bxe5 Rxg2 $1) 20... Ng6 {followed by ...Bd7}) 17... N7c6 {Played after 30 mins of thought. Black's idea was simply to strengthen e5, and at some point, ...Rc7 may be a possibility.} ({My opponent had analysed} 17... Bd7 18. Nxe5 fxe5 19. Bh5+ $1) ({and} 17... N7g6 18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. Bh5+ $1 {both leading to a large edge for White. There is no need to go into any deep variations here but it just goes to show how detailed my opponent's preparation was. Fortunately, my opponent had not analysed the move played in the game.}) {At this point, my opponent had 1 hr 35 mins on the clock while I was already down to 55 mins. This is a significant time advantage and also in practical terms, I had already invested too much energy just to stay alive from the opening. In this respect, it is clear that White's opening choice was a tremendous success.} 18. Nxe5 {The first independent move that my opponent had to make and he immediately makes an inaccuracy! Still, the position remained very tricky and complex.} ({ As my good friends on a particular Facebook group chat soon discovered,} 18. Nd4 $3 {is an incredibly strong move. The point is to immediately weaken the e5 knight indirectly, and at the same time, open up the possibility of nasty Bh5 checks, creating ideas of f3 or f4, followed by Rde1. For example,} Nxd4 19. Bxd4 Rxg2 20. Rde1 Qf5 21. Rh5 $1 {is already almost close to winning for White. With this in mind, it can be said that the entire line may well be lost and Black can do better by investigating the options at move 9 or 7 (but not the first move. The French is a great opening!).}) 18... fxe5 19. Qh6 { Strong practical chess. White introduces a series of nasty threats into the position.} Re7 $1 {The most solid, defensive move.} ({I rejected} 19... Qxg2 { simply because of} 20. Rdg1 $1 Qxg1+ 21. Rxg1 Rxg1+ 22. Kb2 {as White has at least a perpetual check and that it would be extremely difficult to fend off White's powerful pieces. In a practical game, there is no need to calculate further - this conclusion should already be enough reason for you to hunt for alternatives.}) ({I also considered} 19... Rxg2 {but again, I did not see any sense in opening up another avenue for White to continue the attack. In particular, I did not like Black after} 20. Qf6 $1 Qf4+ 21. Qxf4 exf4 22. Rxh7 {. Black may have some kind of a defence here but it is clear that it would take many moves before Black manages to coordinate his queenside.}) 20. Bh5+ Kd7 21. Rhe1 Qf4+ $1 {Not the engine's first choice, but I felt this was the most practical move.} ({The machine suggested} 21... Qf5 {and claims that Black can ride out the storm but it is obvious that Black would be subjected to a lot of pressure after the simple} 22. Re3 $5 d4 (22... Qf4 23. Qxf4 exf4 24. Ree1) 23. Kb1 $5 {. I really wanted to get rid of the queens even at the expense of some material.}) 22. Qxf4 exf4 23. Bf6 {winning the exchange but Black has decent compensation as we shall soon see.} Kd6 24. Bxe7+ Nxe7 25. c4 Bd7 26. cxd5 Nxd5 $2 {Played without hesitation, bearing in mind that I was already experiencing mild time trouble at this point.} ({Thomas Luther pointed out that the dynamic} 26... e5 $1 {would have been very strong. White's d5-pawn shields the Black king perfectly and Black's plans are simple enough. Go for ...Nf5-d4, or ...Rg8 and ...Bf5 and White almost invariably loses the d5 pawn. Some sample lines:} 27. Kb2 (27. Rh1 Rg8 28. Bf3 Bf5 $44) (27. Bf3 Bf5 ) 27... Rg8 28. Bf3 Bg4 29. Rh1 Bxf3 30. gxf3 Nf5 31. Rxh7 Rg2 32. Rd2 Nd4 33. Rxb7 Nxf3 {and Black has sufficient counterplay. In many of these lines, White can very easily find himself in a lot of trouble with a couple of imprecise moves which makes this variation even more appealing.}) 27. Bf3 {Now, White has an edge as all his pieces now make a lot of sense and he has a simple plan of ganging up on the h-pawn before continuing the squeeze.} Rc8+ {I wanted to defend my h-pawn from the c7 square.} (27... Bc6 28. Rh1 {would transpose to the note on White's 29th after} Rc8 29. Kb2) 28. Kb2 Bc6 $5 {This sets a little "trick".} 29. Rxe6+ $6 {Walking into the trap although White should have still gained an edge after it!} (29. Rh1 $1 {with the idea} Rc7 30. Rh4 { was considerably stronger.}) 29... Kxe6 30. Bg4+ Ke5 31. Bxc8 Nb6 $1 32. Bh3 Nc4+ {The point. White loses the a3 pawn almost by force and this was the end of my calculation. However, I had missed a very important detail.} 33. Kc3 (33. Kb3 Ba4+ $1 {was what I was praying for and Black even turns the tables!}) (33. Ka2 Bd5 {leaves the White king in an inactive position and my opponent made the correct decision to choose activity over material.}) 33... Nxa3 34. Re1+ $6 {White decides logically, to go for my h-pawn without waiting.} ({Here, I froze when I saw White could have played} 34. Bd7 $1 {which would have posed a lot more questions for Black to solve. For instance,} Nb5+ (34... Bxg2 35. Kb3 {, trapping the knight was the whole point although here Black could have gone} h5 36. Kxa3 h4 37. Rd3 {and the amazing move} b6 $3 {, continuing the fight according to the computer! I did not analyse this too deeply as I am certain that White would be winning with normal moves.}) 35. Kb4 Nd4 36. Bxc6 Nxc6+ 37. Kc5 Ke4 38. Rd7 Ne5 39. f3+ Nxf3 40. Re7+ $1 (40. gxf3+ Kxf3 41. Kd4 h5 42. Rh7 {was also winning but there was no need to analyse the resulting pawn vs rook endings with Re7+.})) 34... Kd6 {The next few moves do not require any comments.} 35. Re6+ Kc5 36. Re5+ Kd6 37. Rh5 b5 38. Rxh7 a5 39. Rh6+ Kc5 { Black has clear compensation with his connected passies on the queenside and was already very close to a draw at this juncture.} 40. Rh5+ Kd6 $2 { Unfortunately, I made an inaccuracy on the infamous 40th move. I was obsessed with keeping my pawns that I had not even considered the other king move.} ({ The paradoxical} 40... Kb6 $3 {, moving away from the defence of the f4 pawn was very strong. The point is that the Black king would help to support the passed pawns and it would be very difficult for White to make any kind of progress. For example,} 41. Rf5 b4+ 42. Kb2 Nc4+ 43. Kb3 Nd6 $1 44. Rxf4 Bd5+ 45. Kb2 Kc5 {(Black's pieces are coordinating beautifully)} 46. Bd7 {(stopping ...a4)} Nc4+ 47. Ka1 Nb6 48. Be8 Bxg2 {and Black should hold this comfortably. Again, the quality of the remaining pieces on the board matter a lot more than material itself.}) 41. Kd3 $1 {A nice move, almost putting Black in zugzwang.} Bd5 ({Black has to be careful not to push his queenside pawns too fast as he would risk losing them one after the other.} 41... a4 $2 42. Kc3 Nc4 43. Kb4 { and White soon collects the pawns.}) 42. Rh6+ Kc5 43. Rh5 Kd6 {A repetition of moves that did not in any way means that White was ready to offer a draw. This is simply a demonstration of power during the game and is a common technique among strong players. One shouldn't overdo it though, for instance, repeating moves in your opponent's time trouble and giving him extra time and moves to reach the time control. At this point, White found the only move to test Black in this position.} 44. Bg4 $1 {An extremely high class move. White only has 2 remaining pawns and he did not shy away from giving away one of them. White's threat was obviously Bf3 and I did not spend too much time over my next decision.} Bxg2 ({As it turns out, White had a very difficult win after} 44... b4 $5 45. Bf3 Bxf3 46. gxf3 a4 47. Rf5 $3 {Another paradoxical move.} ({ After the forcing sequence,} 47. Ra5 b3 48. Kc3 Nb1+ 49. Kb2 Nd2 50. Rxa4 Ke5 51. Rb4 Nxf3 52. Rxb3 (52. Kxb3 Ng1 $1 53. Kc2 Nh3 54. f3 Ng1 55. Rb3 Kd4 56. Kd2 Nh3) 52... Nd2 {, Black has arrived at a theoretical draw. This was not so easy to determine over the board but Thomas Luther promptly took out his old copy of Encyclopedia of Chess Endings and pointed out that this sort of endgame was already analyzed by Averbakh in 1962!} 53. Rc3 Ne4 54. Rc2 Kf5 $11 (54... f3 55. Kc1 Kf4 56. Kd1 Kf5 57. Ke1 Kf4 58. Rc8 Kf5 59. Rf8+ Kg4 60. Rf7 Ng5 61. Rf6 Ne4 62. Rf8) 55. Kb3 Kg4 (55... Kg5)) 47... b3 48. Kc3 Nb1+ 49. Kb2 Nd2 50. Rxf4 {and now without the f-pawn, Black has no more chances left.}) 45. Kd4 $1 {Threatening the powerful threat of Rh6+. Black's reply was almost forced.} Nc2+ 46. Kc3 Na3 47. Kb3 {To my horror, I realised I was about to lose my precious queenside pawns. During the game, I remembered feeling very disappointed and that my position was already lost here. Not so! Chess is a game full of wondrous possibilities and it is important to fight till the bitter death, even when all hope appears to have gone.} Nc4 (47... Nb1 48. Rxb5 Bd5+ 49. Kb2 Nd2 50. Kc3 Ne4+ 51. Kd4 Bc6 52. Rb6 $1 Ng5 $3 53. Ra6 a4 { also retained some drawing chances.}) 48. Rxb5 Ne5 $2 ({I had actually seen the little trick} 48... a4+ $3 {but I had brushed this possibility off after calculating} 49. Kc3 a3 50. Rb4 {, thinking that I would probably lose the a-pawn very quickly. However, after} Bd5 51. Be2 a2 $1 52. Ra4 Ne5 53. Kb2 f3 $1 {, Black would have saved his position by going after the f2-pawn. This would have been the cleanest way to force an immediate draw with no complications or deviations along the way.}) 49. Bf5 $1 {A good square for the bishop, covering both the g4 and d3 squares.} a4+ 50. Kc3 Bc6 (50... Bd5 51. Ra5 Bb3 {was a possible defence but it was clear that White retains very good winning chances.}) 51. Ra5 Be8 $2 {Collapsing in time trouble but Black's position was already very difficult.} 52. Be4 Ng4 53. f3 Ne5 54. Ra6+ Kd7 55. Kd4 1-0

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Official Statement

On 7th May 2016, I had published an article that details my issues with the current executive committee of the SCF. 

Subsequent to the publication, I was approached by various members of the Exco, including the current SCF President, Leonard Lau. We have had many discussions since and many of the issues highlighted have been addressed. As such, I am happy to retract my statement and I will continue to play for the country in future team events.

Wei Ming

4th June 2016