The Internet Chess Club held its 2nd ICC Open with four 3 minute blitz events to qualify 8 players for the Final. The top 8 players played elimination KO matches and GM Hikaru Nakamura ultimately defended his ICC Open title (with the US$850 prize money) with a 4.5-3.5 win over GM Simonian Hrair. GM Jon Ludvig Hammer and IM Roberto Junio Brito Molina finished 3rd.
I took part in the event together with fellow educator Choo Tong Neo (who has helped MOE win the Civil Service Teams a few times). My 8/11 score in the 1st qualifier (tied for 13th to 35th out of 503 players) looks better than it really is because my final round opponent, GM Vadim Milov decided to withdraw after realising he has no chance of making the top 2 positions ( needed 9.5/11 to qualify for the Finals). In fact, I only scored 6.5/11 in the 3rd qualifier. In the 2 qualifiers, I got hammered by 4 GMs, but managed a win over Wei Ming's good friend, IM Erik Kislik.
The next two games demonstrate the clear difference between GMs and us club level players - the ability to keep calm and continue playing strong moves consistently at a fast tempo even if the position turned against them.
Tong Neo snared eventual ICC Open runner-up GM Simonian Hrair's c2 pawn but the latter just kept plugging on and eventually won on time.
As for me, the World No 158, Gadir Guseinov (ELO 2623) was just too quick for me. It seems that I came close to a draw but 40 seconds difference on the clock is too telling.