Thursday, 26 April 2012

A blog post??

Whats this? An updated blog post? Its true. I have just returned from the Bulgarian/Macedonian/Greek leg of the world chess tour, having taken in Plovdiv, Skopje and Leros. European Championships, Plovdiv. The strongest event so far on the tour, with a bucketload of GM's. Bit of an experimental tournament for me, wheeling out the french defence for the first time in round one against Viktor Bologan (rated 2687)- managed to draw!! Some good wins, including one against a russian 2600 and a 155 move game against GM Kempinski from Poland. This was offset by a couple of bad games, and I finished with a mighty rating gain of 3 points! Congratulations to GM Gawain Jones of England, who qualified for the World Cup to be held in Tromso in the summer. Skopje was the 3rd Karpos Open which was a really strong event won by GM Kiril Georgiev from Bulgaria. I played pretty well for a rating gain of 6 points, including draws with GM's Delchev and Kozul. Hoping to get some photos up soon. IM Lorin D'Costa also went from England and he finished on the same score as me (5/9) And then back to Leros for the Aegean Cup and Championships. I was playing board 1 for Leros, and we won the rapidplay event on the first day. Second place in the cup was followed by victory in the championships, meaning qualification for the Greek 1st National League in the summer. We are still deciding whether to go. My own play started with 5/5 in the rapid but a loss to Michael Singleton (elo 2169) in the championships. I drew one other game to finish with 6.5/8 in the cup/league and a rating point loss. After a whole month away, I am packing my bags as we speak for the World Schools championships in Romania, which I am going as a coach to. The link is here....

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Welcome to paradise part 3....Leros Greece

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Friday, 10 February 2012


I have just got back from the superb Tradewise Gibraltar chess tournament, sharing with my friend and Ginger GM Simon Williams who was doing the commentary. The Caleta Hotel where we were staying was also the venue for the chess, on the eastern side of Gibraltar with a beautiful view overlooking the sea. The event itself prides itself as one of the strongest open tournaments in the world(in fact this year probably THE strongest) with 11 players over the 2700 mark.

My own tournament was a bit of a yo-yo affair, playing 7 players 2300 or below, and 3 super strong GM's (Svidler, Vachier-Lagrave and Yifan Hou). I managed to score 6.5/10, losing to the big 3 and picking up a few rating points on the way. I would highly recommend the event to chess professsionals and amateurs alike, with many sections in the mornings for players Under 2250. In the evenings there were masterclasses from the likes of Judit Polgar, Michael Adams and Emil Sutovsky, along with pairs and team blitz.

I now have a break of a month or so before the next tournament, so plenty of hard work to do on my chess :)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Chess is rubbish

Bad news to report, I'm afraid. Two bad tournaments and my rating is back down again. It started really well in Fremont, with 2.5/3, including a draw against eventual winner GM Sam Shankland. That was where the good times stopped however, as I finished on 4.5/9, including a very poor blunder in the last round against a young FM. Thanks to Ted Castro and Arun Sharma however, for organising a really good event :)

A few days off, catching up in Davis CA with Steve Hamilton and then off to Concord Ca for the Golden State Open. I was completely outplayed in Round 1 by a lower rated player, before scraping a draw. I worked my way back to 4/5 before succumbing in a complicated game to IM (and I presume) eventual winner Justin Sarkar. I withdrew from the tournament after that game, simply being too tired and frustrated with my own play. If there are any of my students reading this, DO NOT WITHDRAW when things aren't going so well(bad etiquette). So I'm back to the UK tomorrow, with my chess playing tail between my legs, realising that if I have any hope of becoming a GM then a massive amount of work is needed. Next up is Gibraltar in a week or so.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Leaving Las Vegas......

It's new years day and sadly we are leaving las vegas today for a flight to Oakland, CA for the Northern Californian International starting tomorrow. Vegas has been a brilliant experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel from Christmas eve until 30 December, and then the Trump International until today. Both great hotels in their own right with the Hard Rock having a younger crowd and the Trump being more business designed (with no gaming).

The chess event here was the North American Open link here. It went quite well for me, as I managed to reach 5/7, losing to GM's Vallejo and Akobian but beating everyone else, for a rating gain of +7. GM Vallejo won the event outright with 6/7 for the jackpot prize of over $9000. I was told after the event by the organisers that I won $2633, which came as a pleasant surprise but since then they have amended my prize downwards to $625 :(

I will update again when in Fremont, CA.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Legnica and London

So I've just finished two interesting tournaments, in Legnica at the 'Voivoda Cup', and at the London Chess Classic. In the Polish tournament I managed to claw back the rating points I lost in Budapest by winning my last two rounds (having drawn all but one of my previous 7). By doing this I finished 5th in the tournament with a juicy 6 point rating gain. The event was well organised and Poland is cheap, but hardly anyone spoke English so I felt a bit isolated from the other players.

London started promisingly with two wins followed by a draw against my 4NCL teammate Laurence Webb. Another win and a hard fought draw against GM Gawain Jones followed. A draw against his housemate IM Thomas Rendle left me in a good position of 5.5/7 with white against GM Arkell in Round 8. However I didn't play that well and lost :( Fortunately I managed to win a decent game against the World Under 12 (!) champion in the last round to end up with a solid but not very spectacular 3.5 rating point gain.

I am now only a few days away from the US leg of the World Chess tour, and have been trying to prepare hard for it. It's certainly going to be an adventure!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Budapest Marathon

The Eastern european leg of the world chess tour started in Budapest for my first taste of the famous 'First Saturday' tournament series. Upon arrival I was greeted with the (not totally pleasant) news that due to there being only 8 participants the event would be a 14 round double round robin event (over 12 days). Better value for money Mr Nagy said. Hmmm.

Well it started well enough, with an easy win in the first round but that was tempered with a loss to GM Czebe (who I beat at the Artemis Cup earlier in the year) in round 2, before winning in Round 3. Exciting start eh?!

Well what followed was a sequence of draws as my opponents didn't seem to be making any mistakes which soon finished off any hopes of a norm. By the halfway mark people were halving out after 10 minutes (not me I hasten to add) as the players were becoming more and more tired. In the second half of the tournament Czebe beat me again, fully exacting revenge for the Leros tournament. In fact Mr Czebe was on form here, winning the event comfortably. I managed to beat GM Ilincic 2-0 before another sequence of draws.

I finished with a dreadful defeat against FM Battey of the USA in round 13 with white, and an incredible draw against IM Arnold in the final round.

Total result for 14 rounds of chess: -5 rating points :(

But a lovely time in Budapest...

Pros of the tournament:
In Budapest
Cheap accommodation
Norm chances guaranteed

Entry fee is high
All the players are good!
Quite noisy at the venue

Anyway next up is Legnica, Poland in a few days. I shall let you know how that one goes.