Barclays International – Last Round and Round Up

I arrived back at home in London at 1am this morning so this is the first time I’ve had to write an update. The last round was a 10am start, and after a few hours sleep, breakfast, a quick bit of preparation and packing I managed to arrive at the board just 15 minutes late. I had White against David Berczes, a young Hungarian GM. Recently he has played loads of different openings and with such little time I couldn’t prepare very deeply. He chose 1…e5 and I decided to deviate slightly on my game against David Howell from the British. I played 6.cxd4 which has a notoriously drawish quality but I prevented the game from going completely dead. David used far too much time, around half of it on move 11, and by move 20 he was down to 3 minutes. He tried to go active with 29…c5!? but erred on the following move by taking on d4 with the pawn ( he should have chosen 30…Rxd4).

When the dust settled at the time control I had an extra pawn in the queen and knight endgame. I’m not sure if it was technically winning but ultimately I managed to queen the passed pawn. I’m very happy with how this game turned out; checking it quickly with a computer afterwards, it doesn’t seem I made any major errors and beating a GM from an equal position was very pleasing.

###pgn###[Event “Barclays Open A”] [Site “Sheffield ENG”] [Date “2011.09.11”] [Round “9”] [White “Jones, G.”] [Black “Berczes, D.”] [Result “1-0”] [ECO “C54”] [WhiteElo “2624”] [BlackElo “2557”] [Annotator “GJ”] [PlyCount “139”] [EventDate “2011.07.25”] [EventType “swiss”] [EventRounds “11”] [EventCountry “ENG”] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. c3 Nf6 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. O-O O-O 11. Rc1 Nb6 12. Bb3 Bf5 13. Rc5 Bg6 14. Qc1 a5 15. Qc3 a4 16. Bc4 Ne7 17. Ne5 Ned5 18. Qf3 c6 19. Re1 Nxc4 20. Ndxc4 Nc7 21. Nxg6 hxg6 22. Rd1 Nd5 {(=)} 23. Ne3 Nf6 24. h3 Qe7 25. Re5 Qb4 26. Qe2 Rfd8 27. a3 Qb3 28. Rd3 Qa2 29. Re7 c5 30. Rxb7 cxd4 31. Qd1 Rdb8 32. Rxb8+ Rxb8 33. Rxd4 Rxb2 34. Qxa4 Rb1+ 35. Rd1 Rb8 36. Qa5 Re8 37. Rd8 Rxd8 38. Qxd8+ Kh7 39. Qd3 Qa1+ 40. Nf1 Qa2 41. Qf3 Nd7 42. Qe3 Qa1 43. Qb3 f5 44. Qb4 Nf6 45. a4 Ne4 46. a5 Nc3 47. Qh4+ Kg8 48. Qc4+ Kh7 49. a6 Ne4 50. f3 Nf6 51. Qb5 Nh5 52. Kh2 f4 53. h4 Qe1 54. a7 Ng3 55. Nxg3 fxg3+ 56. Kh3 Qe6+ 57. Kxg3 Qe1+ 58. Kf4 Qxh4+ 59. g4 Qh2+ 60. Ke4 Qc2+ 61. Ke3 Qc3+ 62. Ke2 Qc2+ 63. Kf1 Qd1+ 64. Kg2 Qd2+ 65. Kh3 Qh6+ 66. Kg3 Qe3 67. a8=Q Qg1+ 68. Kf4 Qd4+ 69. Qe4 Qd2+ 70. Kg3 1-0%%%pgn%%%

Mine was the only decisive result on the top seven boards and meant I rose to 2nd= ( just 5th on tiebreaks thanks to my early loss coupled with the fact that Vlad Tomescu withdrew after I beat him in round five). I was a bit disappointed with the number of “Grandmaster draws” in the event with many players seemingly happy to drift into the prizes without fighting for first place. After a great start of 4/4, Alberto David agreed five quick draws, admittedly all against GMs but still it seemed a shame.

Yuri Solodovnichenko ended champion with a very quick draw in the last round. The decisive game of the tournament was his round 8 game against Berczes. He had Black and they reached a very complex endgame position where he was the exchange down but had a powerful passed pawn. It probably should have resulted in a draw but David missed a reply and panicked, blundering and losing immediately.

Overall I am pleased with my performance. After a disappointing start, in particular my round two loss, I fought back and finished in the prizes and broke even on rating. My score with black wasn’t fantastic; 1.5/4 with 3 draws and 1 loss, and a couple of opening questions that I’ll need to answer before my next tournament. With White however, I managed 100% with 5/5. Again my positions out of the opening weren’t commanding (except for round 7 I had no real edge after 15 moves) but was happy I kept going and ground down my opponents. Every one of my wins came in the endgame and I went to two scoresheets in six of my nine games (over 60 moves).

I now have a while at home, my next tournament being the Galway weekender at the end of this month. In the meantime I have to write my ChessPublishing update, do some chess work with Sue (she hasn’t played much recently but is planning on playing the e2e4 event organised by Sean Hewitt in Sunningdale next weekend and so we should do a little work) and of course a lot of work on my own chess.

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