Half time at the Summer Chess Classic

by Klaus Besenthal
6/24/2019 – The three tournaments of the "Summer Chess Classic" at the Saint Louis Chess Club will start in their second half today with five of the ten rounds in the books. Sunday was the tournaments' sole rest day. In the A tournament there was a draw between co-leaders Jeffery Xiong and David Howell, allowing Sam Shankland to move closer to the top with his win against Dariusz Swiercz. The encounter between Gawain Jones and Le Quang Liem ended in a draw. | Photo: Xiong vs Howell (webcast)

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No changes at the top

England's David Howell, and American top Junior Jeffrey Xiong continue to lead the A tournament, now standing on 3/5, with one win apiece. In the the B tournament, Surya Ganguly's pace slowed, allowing Grigoriy Oparin to catch up with both scoring 3½ points, while in the C tournament, the Latvian Arturs Neiksans also remains in the lead with 3½. 

In Friday's fourth round only two of the nine games were decided. The A tournament saw a draw between the English GMs David Howell and Gawain Jones but it was by no means a boring one:


Chess Endgames 8 - Practical Rook Endgames

Rook endings are amongst the most frequently encountered endgames there are, and so your training effort will be quickly repaid in the form of half and full points. Knowing even a few rules of thumb and key methods makes life a great deal easier and provides a guiding light even in complex positions. This DVD focuses on the important themes which are to be found in common rook endings.

Converting a position with a healthy extra pawn makes every chess player rejoice but the realization of small advantages like this often turns out to be extremely difficult or even fails completely. Sam Shankland had to work hard for 72 moves in the fifth round, before finally being able to score the full point in his pawn up endgame.


Marin's English Love Vol.1 and 2 - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4

The aim of these Dvd's is to build a repertoire after 1.c4 and 2.g3 for White. The first DVD includes the systems 1...e5, the Dutch and Indian setups. The second DVD includes the systems with 1...c5, 1...c6 and 1...e6.

Gawain Jones was looking forward to seeing the city on Sunday's rest day, after his first five games were all "somehow" drawn:

Round 4 results


Round 5 results


Standings after Round 5


All games


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B Tournament

Round four's lone winner was the young Russian Grigoriy Oparin, who knocked off Igor Kovalenko, with the black pieces, to move into shared first place. But Oparin first dodged a bullet in the middlegame after 28...h5?


This was the moment for White to strike with 28.♕e5+ ♚g8 29.♔f1 when White's king is safe and his piece activity will force the queens off into an easily winning endgame. Instead, 28.d2 gave Oparin the compensation for the pawn he needed: 29...f4 30.g3 d3 and Black's initiative led Kovalenko to jettison an exchange a few moves later giving Oparin a technically winning game.

All games of the 5th round ended in draws, so nothing changed.

Round 4 results


Round 5 results


Standings after Round 5


All games


C Tournament

In the C tournament, Neiksan's lead has melted to half a point.

Results of Round 4


Results of Round 5


Standings after Round 5


All games


Translation from German and additional reporting: Macauley Peterson


Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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