Double the fun in Cardiff (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
7/21/2016 – With classic castles, highlands, and breathtaking vistas, players coming to the South Wales Open might feel the chess is almost secondary, but chess was there too, and gritty with a nice selection of grandmasters and masters to keep interest up. In this second part of the illustrated report you will find plenty of games and exercises.

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To always be in search of the chess truth requires tons of
energy, and sometimes the reserves run out.

Chatalbashev - Wells

[Event "2016 South Wales International"] [Site "Cardiff"] [Date "2016.07.10"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Chatalbashev, Boris"] [Black "Wells, Peter K"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D31"] [WhiteElo "2545"] [BlackElo "2419"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/3b4/8/5k2/p3p1p1/5nK1/1B2B3/8 b - - 0 74"] [PlyCount "5"] [EventDate "2016.07.07"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "WLS"] [WhiteClock "0:04:10"] [BlackClock "0:01:13"] {And now a small example to illustrate what double games can do to a human mind. While watching the final Portugal - France, we glared for a second at Peter's game to immadiately conclude Black should be winning having 3 pawns extra on the board. And then something happened} 74... e3 $2 {Ouch.} 75. Bxf3 gxf3 76. Kxf3 e2 {Blunders are part of the game and I am still struggling to find a better method than coffee and chocolate. If you have suggestions, do send us your comments!} 1/2-1/2

It is worth mentioning that Peter bounced back every time and finished the tournament on a positive note even though he also had his share of losing against an 'underdog'.

Wells - Rudd

[Event "2016 South Wales International"] [Site "Cardiff"] [Date "2016.07.08"] [Round "3.3"] [White "Wells, Peter K"] [Black "Rudd, Jack"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E92"] [WhiteElo "2419"] [BlackElo "2213"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4r1k1/1pqb1pbp/p3rnp1/1PP5/P1pB4/N1N2P2/3Q2PP/R2R2K1 b - - 0 25"] [PlyCount "29"] [EventDate "2016.07.07"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "WLS"] [WhiteClock "0:02:20"] [BlackClock "1:05:19"] {I like a lot the general chess understanding of the English players as well and this was a fine example of how an intreprid player like Jack can find superb practical moves, maximizing his chances in the time trouble of his opponent.} 25... Re5 $1 {the best, both practically and objectively speaking.} 26. c6 {the most precise way to continue but I must say at this point Peter was under a minute on his clock, basing all his calculation on the 30 seconds increment. Having to face such positional sacrifices given the shortage of time is far from being a picnic.} ({The blunt} 26. Bxe5 {doesn't really work.} Qxe5 27. bxa6 Qxc5+ 28. Kh1 bxa6 29. Nc2 Bf5 {and Black has plenty of compensation for the exchange.}) 26... bxc6 27. b6 Qb8 28. Nxc4 { understandable in massive time scramble, which brought the white king to a sad end.} ({This was the moment to collect the dividends.} 28. Bxe5 Qxe5 29. Re1 Qc5+ 30. Qf2 {and a better position for White.}) 28... Rh5 29. g3 Be6 30. Nb2 c5 {It is remarkable to see how Black punished in a machine-like way White's hesitations.} 31. Bf2 Qxb6 32. Nd3 Qc6 33. Nf4 Rf5 34. g4 Nxg4 35. fxg4 Bxc3 36. Qxc3 Rxf4 37. h3 Bxg4 38. hxg4 Rxg4+ 39. Bg3 h5 0-1

The risks of the game – blackouts

Chatalbashev – Gretarsson

[Event "2016 South Wales International"] [Site "Cardiff"] [Date "2016.07.11"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Chatalbashev, Boris"] [Black "Gretarsson, Hjorvar Steinn"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A13"] [WhiteElo "2545"] [BlackElo "2550"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3r2k1/2rq1ppp/1pn1pb2/p1pn4/Q6P/P2P1NP1/1P1BPPB1/1RR3K1 w - - 0 19"] [PlyCount "12"] [EventDate "2016.07.07"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "WLS"] [WhiteClock "0:03:51"] [BlackClock "0:05:38"] {From the same series on "how double rounds can mess up with your brain":} 19. e4 {was played with the clear idea that after} Nde7 20. Bf4 Rb7 {White has 21. e5 and game over. To his horror, Boris was confronted with the counter 21... Nxe5 22.Qxd7 Nxd7 - Oups- and had to continue} 21. b4 axb4 22. axb4 cxb4 23. Qa6 Bc3 24. Be3 Nb8 {and after still putting up a fight, the Bulgarian had to shake the winner's hand and eventually resign. It is quite remarkable that all the GMs somewhat complained about their play, including the tournament winner, but that is understandable if you check the results and see the draws with players rated far below their strength. Which brings me to my point: watch out for those Welsh players! It is not that you play bad but rather that they play well.} 0-1

There is nothing you can do about those blunders, or at least I didn't find a remedy until recently: during one of my games I detected that my opponent was missing for quite some time and I wondered where he could be? Since his clock was ticking anyway, I took the opportunity to go into the hotel lobby and watch the live tennis matches a bit from Wimbledon and...there he was! My adversary was relaxing in an armchair, getting inspiration from Murray's cannon shots! (Ed: the British player who won Wimbledon for the second time)

The meeting point: the hotel lobby

At other times, the Tour de France was the one to imbue the chess players with new ideas because sport is one of the basic joys of life, and it touches the depths of our emotions, letting us believe in the impossible. I just wish and hope the game of chess would attract as many fans as football does, that they would eventually stop being seen as poles apart but rather similar due to the think, plan, execute scheme.

Chess players are social and cool people too, not only the footballers!
“Diod arall?” (that means “another drink?” in Welsh)

The 13th South Wales title goes to Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson who, despite missing the first
round as he had to travel from South America (add some jet lag on top of it) and despite his
“not so good play” (his quote), he remained undefeated, gained some rating and first prize too!

The hotel witnessing all the chess encounters, which were decided in the first three rounds by...

… the good old ways: by hand! The computer took
over later but I cannot suppress some flashbacks
from my childhood chess memories.

Webb - Chatalbashev

[Event "2016 South Wales International"] [Site "Cardiff"] [Date "2016.07.11"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Webb, Laurence E"] [Black "Chatalbashev, Boris"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A48"] [WhiteElo "2286"] [BlackElo "2545"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6k1/4p3/3p4/1n1P4/5NpP/1p4P1/1Prr1RK1/4R3 w - - 0 34"] [PlyCount "10"] [EventDate "2016.07.07"] [EventRounds "10"] [EventCountry "WLS"] [WhiteClock "0:18:40"] [BlackClock "0:22:07"] {Save the day for White: Rxd2 or Ree2?} 34. Ree2 {was played missing Black's devious idea.} (34. Rxd2 Rxd2+ 35. Re2 Rc2 36. Rxc2 bxc2 37. Ne2 {just in time. }) 34... Rxe2 35. Rxe2 Nc3 $1 {and suddenly Black is winning. Thus by taking the d2-rook first, White avoids the Nc3 and Nd1 hidden resource.} 36. Rf2 Nd1 37. Rxc2 bxc2 38. Nd3 Nxb2 {and Black won a few moves later.} 0-1

If you're up for more calculation, try the following exercises:

Select exercises from list below the board. Move the pieces on the board to enter your solution.

So many sports, so little time! But chess is indeed a bit more special to me, a chameleon able to adapt to any personality and become a metaphor for everything and anything, including life itself. How else could one describe it when I had been stalemated twice during my stay in Cardiff?! First by the very relaxed and warm Welsh people and secondly... with such a program on the board and on TV I barely had time to discover Cardiff.

Luckily, the city distinguishes itself with a strong personality so it was enough (for now) to quickly grasp
the modern vibes...
(click on image for high-res version)

… while the traditional ones continue to stand proudly.

Modern meets traditional

All the same, I didn't succeed in seeing the Wales depicted in the books with hills that make your heart sing, the Wales which its high lands and history...

… castles and countryside and, of course, with... (click image for high-res version)

… lots of green grass. (click image for high-res version)

I did get little bits here and there but I know there is room for much more in the future. How about Wales in the 2018 FIFA World Cup final too?!

Final standings

Rk SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts
1 1 GM Gretarsson Hjorvar Steinn ISL 2550 8.0
2 2 GM Chatalbashev Boris BUL 2545 7.5
  3 GM Petrov Marian BUL 2461 7.5
4 4 GM Arkell Keith C ENG 2455 7.0
  5 GM Wells Peter K ENG 2419 7.0
6 10 FM Nielsen Lars Aaes DEN 2234 6.5
  17   Byron Alan M ENG 2136 6.5
8 6 IM L'ami Alina ROU 2339 6.0
  7 FM Webb Laurence E ENG 2286 6.0
  9   Wallace Paul IRL 2243 6.0
  12 IM Rudd Jack ENG 2213 6.0
  14 FM Braun Walter AUT 2207 6.0
  15   Jones Steven A ENG 2186 6.0
  19 WFM Longson Sarah N ENG 2117 6.0
  21   Martin Lewis ENG 2053 6.0
  25   Ralphs Nigel WLS 2000 6.0
17 11 IM Marusenko Petr UKR 2226 5.5
  16   Jaunooby Ali R ENG 2158 5.5
  18 WFM Ivekovic Tihana CRO 2129 5.5
  20   Brown Thomas WLS 2107 5.5


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Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.
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