IM Daniel Fernandez ventured southwards down to Derbyshire (England) to take part in the Buxtom Chess Congress (29 June to 1st July 2012). Seeded 3rd, he played above his rating to finish in equal 2nd with GM Mark Hebden and Alan Merry, scoring 4/5 to win 75 pounds and more importantly, about 9 ELO rating points (thanks to his Tournament Performance Rating of 2451). GM Keith Arkell, who scraped a win from Daniel in Round 4, won the event with 4.5 points and collected the 300 pounds bounty.
Daniel started off with 3/3 though he considered himself lucky as he nearly lost to Alan Merry (Round 2 and fell asleep against FM Robert Shaw (Rd 3).
In Round 1, a nice positional squeeze leading to a sort of zugwang with the board full of pieces.
Round 2 saw Daniel drifting into a lifeless position where White was doing the pressing. However, his patience paid dividends.
FM Robert Shaw was on the brunt of Daniel's sacrificial attack after being outmanouvred in a Closed Ruy-like middlegame.
Next up is Daniel's heartbreaking loss to GM Keith Arkell, thus ending his chances of winning the event. Daniel remarked that he has started blitzing at the wrong moment in the drawn King and pawn ending.
In the final game, Daniel challenged his opponent into a tactical slugfest with chaotic material imbalances and he showed why this avenue is his forte.
Not a bad start in Daniel's pre-Olympiad preparations!
Full details of the tourney results can be found at the e2e4 Buxton Open website.