Barclays International, Rounds 6 and 7

A familiar pattern seems to be emerging. Round 6 I was paired with Black against the Hungarian GM Lazlo Gonda. He’s a rather solid player, often happy with 1.Nf3, 2.c4 positions so I knew it’d be tough to get the whole point. I tried a new opening but he came up with a clever move order and I couldn’t equalise. He had some fairly significant pressure but chose the unambitious option of trading queens and after that I equalised comfortably. I wanted to play on when he offered a draw on move 20 but after 5 minutes thought I couldn’t see any winning chances in the dull endgame so agreed a draw.

Most of preparation for this game consisted of sightseeing! Sam Collins (my room mate) and I took the metro into Rome’s centre with the idea of seeing the Pantheon, a Roman temple now used as a church. We also saw another few landmarks on our adventure one of which was a statue of Triton which, when we looked at the map, seemed to be where the Trevi Fountain should have been. We were less than impressed but eventually found the real thing and that really is something to behold. I forgot my camera in the room but took some pictures on my phone, although unfortunately will have to wait till I get back home to upload.

Rome’s centre is littered with beautiful old buildings, most of which just seem to be used as everyday churches. We found the Pantheon and had a very quick look but we were starting to cut it a bit fine to do any preparation and so headed back. However, it must be amazing to attend mass there. On the walk back we also passed the old Roman Forum and the Colosseum, which was impressive as I remembered.

In the evening after the game we also took the metro into town (there aren’t any restaurants around the hotel) and followed up a recommendation a friend gave Sam. The service was very slow, and the waiter managed to spill red wine over me, my white shirt and my phone, but the food was excellent and I felt very satisfied following my penne alla gorgonzola ( I have a thing for blue cheese) followed by a crostino. However the slow service meant we had to run to catch the last metro (11.30pm), arriving at the platform with about 20 seconds to spare.

Today I was playing another young guy, Diego De Berardino, an IM from Brazil with a high rating of 2483. I think he needs two norms for his GM title as he has already been over 2500. I decided to use a line from my new How to Beat the Sicilian book which worked wonderfully. I’m not sure what his decisive mistake was; in my opinion his position is already unpleasant when I managed to weaken his structure with 16.e5. I was pleased as I kept everything under control and didn’t give him any chances, a first for this tournament! Maybe after seven games I’ve finally played myself back into some form.

###pgn###[Event “Barclays Open A”] [Site “Sheffield ENG”] [Date “2011.09.09”] [Round “7”] [White “Jones, G.”] [Black “Di Berardino, D.”] [Result “1-0”] [ECO “B52”] [WhiteElo “2624”] [BlackElo “2483”] [Annotator “GJ”] [PlyCount “107”] [EventDate “2011.07.25”] [EventType “swiss”] [EventRounds “11”] [EventCountry “ENG”] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O e6 6. c4 Nf6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Be7 10. Re1 O-O 11. b3 Rac8 12. Bb2 Rfd8 13. Rc1 a6 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Qe2 Qb7 16. e5 dxe5 17. Qxe5 Bd6 18. Qe2 Qc7 19. g3 Qa5 20. Na4 Be7 21. Qf3 h6 22. Kg2 Qc7 23. Be5 Qa5 24. Re2 Nd7 25. Bc3 Qc7 26. Rd1 Bf6 27. Red2 Bxc3 28. Qxc3 Nf6 29. Nc5 Rxd2 30. Qxd2 a5 31. Qd4 Qe7 32. h3 e5 33. Qd6 Qxd6 34. Rxd6 Kf8 35. Rd2 e4 36. Kf1 Ke7 37. Ke2 Rb8 38. Ke3 h5 39. Rd4 Rb4 40. Kd2 Rb8 41. Kc3 h4 42. g4 g5 43. Nxe4 Nxe4+ 44. Rxe4+ Kd6 45. f4 gxf4 46. Rxf4 Re8 47. Kd3 Re7 48. Re4 Rb7 49. g5 a4 50. Kc3 axb3 51. axb3 c5 52. Rxh4 Re7 53. Rh6+ Kc7 54. h4 1-0%%%pgn%%%