Saturday, 3 January 2015

Australian Open - Day 2

Yesterday was the first double round day at the Australian Open Chess Championships at Castle Hill RSL. In the first game of the day I was paired against Welsh IM Richard Jones & played a long game, where Richard grabbed a pawn early in a Slav Defence & I tried to round it up. However I could never quite capture the pawn, but still retained good drawing chances, but in the critical position I blundered, playing defensive moves 47. Bc6 & 48. Rh2, rather than the more active 47. Rf2, which would have created more opportunities for me & allowed me to exploit the weakened black king, rather than being so focused on the passed d-pawn.

In the second game of the day I was black against Newcastle junior Paul Russell & played a Modern Defence that soon transposed to a position from the Scandinavian Defence. I found myself in a passive position, but was able to strike out against the centre when Paul launched an attack on my king. I did not defend the best & Paul was able to win two pawns & I had to hope for something of a miracle & looked to play vaguely threatening moves in the hope of having my opponent blunder. Thankfully for me, Paul did exactly that & allowed my rook & knight to get very active & rather than pushing his passed a-pawn, Paul tried to defend, which helped my position enormously, to the point where he gave up a piece to try to slow my initiative. Of course that is the time when I should maintain my concentration (I had been rather tired earlier in the game & may have even dozed off briefly for short periods), but I got lazy & played a very poor move, thinking that my opponent had to play a particular move when he clearly didn't. The critical mistake was 43... dxc3, when 43... d3 was simply winning. I had seen both moves & although d3 was winning, it appeared to be a bit tricky if the a-pawn was pushed. I quickly calculated that after 43... dxc3 44. Rxc3 Nd5 that the rook on c3 would have to move & I could capture the b-pawn & hold everything on the queenside, but had completely overlooked that 45. a6 was possible! After that, I was struggling to hold a draw, but with the extra piece, I was able to defend & get into the Philidor position to hold the draw.

I have managed to upload a few short videos that my girlfriend Greer recorded on day 1 of GM Ian Rogers' commentary. There are a few others that are longer, but they take considerably more time to upload, so I might be able to upload these later in the event.


After some technical difficulties, the organisers have managed to get something of a live feed of Ian Rogers' commentary, although they are still working on finding the best angle to show the commentary. The channel to view the commentary is

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