Jersey: Sunshine state of mind (2/2)

by Alina l'Ami
4/27/2016 – From a numbers point of view, the Polar Capital Jersey Open might not impress, but what it lacked in quantity, it made up in quality with several grandmasters and masters, and a conviviality that such intimate affairs produce. Add to that the lovely views and a promise next year to be played in a castle, and it becomes an event to add to your calendar. Pictorial and analysis.

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Chess isn't everything; just a big part

Mixing chess with pleasure (actually, isn't this a pleonasm?!) the Jersey way could be one of the secrets behind this lovely tournament, as many attractive 'extras' were organized on site: a Blitz event and a simul kindly offered by Jovanka, while the mesmerizing and rather unusual landscapes were there for your eyes to lay on.

There are some things you learn best in calm...

… and some in storm.

One of the most amazing parts for me was the Jersey's tide. Its harbor is totally
transformed in a very short space of time by the arrival or departure of the sea.

Tide and time wait for no man

Sometimes wine is just necessary, especially in Blitz!

Or after a rough and well-deserved tournament win!

Even though it was scheduled during the tournament, Jovanka did her utmost to sustain
the chess passion among the Jersey's kids – a simul played with clocks! Besides good
moves, Jovanka had to show her running skills too.

Everyone loved the evening and if I look at Jovanka's expression, I would say she enjoyed it
too! But then there was this morning game next day against yours truly...

Houska - L'Ami

[Event "Polar Capital Jersey Open"] [Site ""] [Date "2016.04.16"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Houska, Jovanka"] [Black "L'Ami, Alina"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2376"] [BlackElo "2348"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/3b3p/5kp1/1p6/p1p1B3/P5P1/1P5P/4N2K b - - 0 44"] [PlyCount "35"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "England"] [BlackTeam "Romania"] [WhiteTeamCountry "ENG"] [BlackTeamCountry "ROU"] [WhiteClock "0:01:07"] [BlackClock "0:02:16"] {I am not going to comment on this final game, as it was a ping-pong match, with too many missed chances for both sides. However, the ensuing endgame, for which I have a pale satisfaction as I deliberately went for it, is really interesting! Black is a piece down yet with a very active king and an extra pawn on the queenside! Objectively speaking, I believe it should be a draw but playing this position on seconds is far from ideal, especially for White.} 44... Ke5 {The plan is simple: marching down to capture the b2 and a3 pawns.} 45. Bc2 ({Apparently, White has to keep the bishop on the a8-h1 diagonal, where the minor piece is more active and entitled to set up some threats.} 45. Ba8 Kd4 46. Nf3+ Ke3 47. Ne5 Be8 48. Ng4+ Kd2 49. Nf6 Bf7 50. Bc6 Kc2 51. Bxb5 Kxb2 52. Bxa4 c3 53. Ng4 Kxa3 54. Bc2 Bb3 55. Bd3 {where my engine says a draw is most likely the outcome.}) 45... Kd4 46. Kg2 Ke3 47. h4 Kd2 $4 {I almost fell from my chair... with my clear plan in mind I quickly went to d2, trying to save and add some seconds on my clock.} ({The problem is that I missed} 47... Ke2 $1 {winning a piece! Oops!} 48. Nf3 Bc6) 48. Kf2 Kc1 49. h5 Bf5 { In fact I was quite pleased with this "technical" move, thinking the poor knight would be too weak to stop all my pawns!} ({Apparently} 49... gxh5 { was the right way, which I dismissed on the grounds that more pieces, more chances for a draw for White. Turned out I was wrong.} 50. Bxh7 Kxb2 51. Nc2 Bg4 52. Ke1 c3 53. Bg6 Be6 54. Ke2 Bb3 {with a winning endgame.}) 50. hxg6 $2 { returning the favor; but the reasons are far from obvious...} (50. Bxf5 { Would have made a draw and yet, calculating all of it is nearly impossible. The point is that keeping the h-pawns on the board hands White the chance to hold the pawn endgame, once the knight has been sacrificed on the other side!} gxf5 51. Ke3 Kxb2 52. Kd2 Kxa3 53. Kc3 b4+ 54. Kxc4 b3 55. Nf3 b2 56. Nd2 Ka2 57. Kb4 b1=Q+ 58. Nxb1 Kxb1 59. Kxa4 Kc2 60. Kb4 Kd3 61. Kc5 Ke4 62. Kd6 f4 63. gxf4 Kxf4 64. Ke6 Kg5 65. Ke5 {and draw.}) 50... Bxg6 {I remember thinking: keep the pawn further away, it might prove helpful. And it did!} (50... hxg6 $2 {is wrong because of the same reasons: a drawn pawn endgame for White} 51. Bxf5 gxf5 52. Ke2 Kxb2 53. Kd2 Kxa3 54. Kc3 b4+ 55. Kxc4 b3 56. Nf3 b2 57. Nd2 Ka2 58. Kb4 a3 59. Ka4 b1=Q 60. Nxb1 Kxb1 61. Kxa3 Kc2 62. Kb4 Kd3 63. Kc5 Ke4 64. Kd6 Kf3 65. Ke5) 51. Bxg6 hxg6 52. Ke3 Kxb2 53. Kd2 Kxa3 54. Kc3 b4+ 55. Kxc4 b3 56. Kc3 b2 57. Nc2+ Ka2 58. Nb4+ Kb1 59. g4 g5 60. Kd2 Ka1 61. Nc2+ Ka2 { What a game that was! Hope not to go through such emotions anytime soon...} 0-1

Sometimes hands come in handy when...

… calculating.

How could one refuse offering chess advice to such lovely pupils?!

Obviously Tiger could not, so here he is, literally with one minute to go until his game started

Hillarp Persson - Hebden

[Event "Polar Capital Jersey Open"] [Site ""] [Date "2016.04.14"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Hillarp Persson, Tiger"] [Black "Hebden, Mark L"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2529"] [BlackElo "2489"] [Annotator "AA"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "Sweden"] [BlackTeam "England"] [WhiteTeamCountry "SWE"] [BlackTeamCountry "ENG"] [WhiteClock "0:03:10"] [BlackClock "0:17:42"] {Tiger has the reputation of fighting like a beast, particularly in crazy positions, where his strengths are even more visible. This tournament was not meant to be, as coaching on site the talented local children can be motivating but exhausting too. Furthermore, facing Mark's deadliest weapons, the King's Indian, was not a picnic.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 Na6 9. Be2 Nc5 10. Nd2 c6 11. g4 Bd7 12. Be3 a4 13. g5 Ne8 14. h4 Qa5 15. a3 f5 16. gxf6 {This is always the thing in KID: one wrong move and you can twist your ankle.} ({My engine came up with} 16. h5 Nc7 17. h6 Bh8 18. f3 fxe4 19. Bxc5 exf3 20. Bxd6 fxe2 21. Qxe2 Rf4 22. O-O-O Bg4 { how about that for calculation?! Nobody said the KID is for the faint of heart. }) 16... Nxf6 17. Kf1 cxd5 18. cxd5 b5 19. Rc1 Rab8 20. Kg2 Qd8 {I am a huge fan of such moves, re-grouping and re-routing. Tiger fought like a tiger but Mark's experience in the KID proved too much. Shall we count on a DVD Mark?? I am a KID player too and you will have the first customer!} 21. Qc2 Ng4 22. Bxg4 Bxg4 23. f3 Bh5 24. Rcf1 Qd7 25. Rh3 b4 26. Ne2 bxa3 27. bxa3 Nb3 28. Rhh1 Nxd2 29. Qxd2 Rb3 30. Ng3 Qb5 31. Nxh5 gxh5 32. Rf2 Rxa3 33. Bg5 Qd7 34. Rh3 Kh8 35. Rg3 Rb3 36. Qa5 Rfb8 37. Bc1 Bf6 38. Bg5 Bxg5 39. Rxg5 a3 40. Qa6 Qc7 41. Kg3 Qc5 42. Kh3 Qc8+ 43. Qxc8+ Rxc8 44. Rgg2 Rf8 45. Rg3 Rb2 46. Rf1 a2 47. Ra1 Rf2 48. Rg2 R8xf3+ 49. Kh2 Rxg2+ 50. Kxg2 Ra3 51. Kf2 Kg7 52. Ke2 Rh3 0-1

Coaching and playing at the same time is quite a demanding
activity, perhaps the reason why Tiger couldn't show all the
weapons from his arsenal.

Since our chess brain needs some breaks as well, discovering the island's beauty and history could be a good starting point.

The sea does magic with an overstretched chess brain

Low tide but...

… a boat in the middle of the town?

Being very close to the western shore of France and not far from England, the island of Jersey could have been a good strategic base for the French, British or Germans in their quest to conquer new territories. They all left their mark on the island and nowadays hundreds of high historical landmarks can be admired by tourists: cannons, towers, castles, fortifications, walls or tunnels, all of which bear a special historical load. If you combine that with a cozy chess event, I guess we have a winner for your next trip?!

Chances are that right after landing, you will be taken on a sudden scenic tour! The hotel can wait.

Our arbiter, IA Adam Raoof, made sure the chess part ran smoothly

Glenn - L'Ami

[Event "Polar Capital Jersey Open"] [Site ""] [Date "2016.04.14"] [Round "6.4"] [White "House, Glenn L"] [Black "L'Ami, Alina"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2213"] [BlackElo "2348"] [Annotator "AA"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/2p5/P1kb4/1np2pp1/K1Np4/3PpPPp/4P2P/4B3 b - - 0 45"] [PlyCount "19"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteTeam "England"] [BlackTeam "Romania"] [WhiteTeamCountry "ENG"] [BlackTeamCountry "ROU"] [WhiteClock "0:01:54"] [BlackClock "0:09:05"] {After quite an interesting strategic battle in the opening and middlegame, it was about time for Black to harvest, so I went:} 45... Nc3+ {planning that after} 46. Bxc3 {to go not what followed in the game} dxc3 ({but} 46... Bxg3 { instead, as} 47. a7 Kb7 {leads to nothing but a totally winning position for yours truly. The black pawns' chain is incredibly strong and there is nothing White can do to stop the malvolent plan of collecting the h2 pawn and then queening. No idea what has happened to my brain, besides the fact I decided to take a shortcut since I honestly believed the ensuing pawn endgame after 46... dxc3 should be winning much easier...Was it?!}) 47. Nxd6 cxd6 48. Kb3 Kb6 49. Kxc3 {All fine, until I went astray with} d5 $2 {Obviously my last move was meant to meet 50.d4 with 50...c4, where I thought Black should be kind of winning. Even in the worst possible scenario, I can still give up the c-pawn and enter with the king to the weak d4-pawn. I was so convinced of my wrong opinion that my opponent missed his chance, perhaps precisely because of that reason?} ({The right way to go was} 49... Kxa6 50. d4 ({If} 50. Kc4 {the only way to win is with} f4 $1 (50... Kb6 $2 51. d4 f4 52. gxf4 gxf4 53. dxc5+ dxc5 54. Kc3 {with a draw, as mentioned in a similar line below.}) 51. gxf4 gxf4 52. d4 cxd4 53. Kxd4 Kb5 54. Ke4 d5+ $1 55. Kxf4 d4 56. Ke4 Kc4 {which is also transposes to a line underneath; Black is winning.}) 50... Kb5 51. dxc5 Kxc5 $1 (51... dxc5 $2 {would again hand White half a point as there is no way Black can breakthrough! A sample line:} 52. Kb3 c4+ 53. Kc3 Kc5 54. Kc2 Kb4 55. Kb2 c3+ 56. Kc2 Kc4 57. Kc1 Kb3 58. Kb1 c2+ 59. Kc1 {And now a handshake would do.. . impossible to avoid stalemate.}) 52. Kd3 f4 53. gxf4 gxf4 54. Ke4 d5+ 55. Kxf4 d4 56. Ke4 Kc4 57. f4 Kc3 58. f5 d3 59. f6 dxe2 60. f7 e1=Q 61. f8=Q Qb1+ {and now with a couple of smart checks, the point should go into Black's pockets. Somehow I feel that calculating all of it with 30 seconds on the clock is not so easy. That means I should have definitely taken on g3, forget about the piece and simply roll the pawns over! And I should study some more pawn endgames too...} 62. Ke5 Qb5+ 63. Ke6 Qc4+ 64. Kd7 e2) 50. f4 $2 {This move is too committal, since there will be no more fortresses in the position - Black can go around the board and enter via h5-g4-f4.} ({A draw would have been achieved after} 50. d4 c4 51. Kb4 f4 {Aimed to protect the e3-pawn in a line that will be reveled further on.} 52. gxf4 gxf4 53. Kc3 Kxa6 54. Kb4 Kb6 55. Ka4 c3 {Black has to sacrifice the pawn to be able to enter with the king.} 56. Kb3 Kb5 57. Kxc3 Ka4 58. Kc2 $1 {opposition} Kb4 59. Kd3 Kb3 {stalemate again.}) 50... gxf4 51. gxf4 Kxa6 52. d4 c4 53. Kb4 Kb6 54. Ka4 Kc6 {Pfiuu, the morning game was over:)} 0-1

Note the tournament sponsor's cap – I like such details and shame on me I didn't picture
the pen we were offered, which was pretty as well.

Next year, one round will be played in the castle, after all it is the royal game we are playing!

And we will have such views...

… while a bit further away the coastline is waiting for you too!

Small only in size, the Polar Capital Chess Festival of Jersey had rewarded us inversely proportional. Just like all the little dots put together can create an à la Van Gogh masterpiece, the Jersey tournament became an event to remember. That was inevitable, just like my participation next year!

Final standings

Rk SNo Ti. Name Fed Rtg Pts  TB 
1 2 GM HEBDEN Mark L ENG 2489 7.5 47.5
2 3 GM WILLIAMS Simon K ENG 2452 6.5 50.0
3 1 GM HILLARP PERSSON Tiger SWE 2529 6.0 49.0
4 4 IM HOUSKA Jovanka ENG 2376 6.0 48.5
5 5 FM MERRY Alan B ENG 2375 6.0 47.0
6 6 IM L'AMI Alina ROU 2348 6.0 46.5
7 7 FM WEBB Laurence E ENG 2272 5.5 49.5
8 8 FM HOUSE Glenn L ENG 2213 4.5 48.5
9 9   BYRON Alan M ENG 2124 4.5 42.0
10 10   KLINGHER Dominic ENG 2101 4.5 41.5
11 12   HAGESATHER Arne NOR 2059 4.5 39.0
12 23   PITCHER Thomas ENG 1723 4.5 38.0
13 11   HEPPELL Ian N ENG 2083 4.0 41.5
14 13 CM BELZO Krzysztof JCI 2047 4.0 37.5
15 22   WEBSTER Jim J SCO 1844 4.0 36.0
16 20   HICKMAN John E ENG 1901 4.0 35.0
17 15   FRENCH Max ENG 1919 4.0 34.5
18 17   ANDERSEN Niels Erik DEN 1910 4.0 31.0
19 14 CM WOJCIECHOWSKI Paul JCI 2000 3.5 36.5
20 19 CM FORBES Garry JCI 1904 3.5 33.5
21 18   BAKKER Joop NED 1907 3.0 34.5
22 16 AIM KAHN Tito JCI 1917 2.5 32.5
23 21   JOUAULT Louis JCI 1892 2.0 35.5


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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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Adityav Adityav 4/30/2016 10:57
Hi Alina, thank you for uploading all these photos. I played in this tournament and won Top Junior. Could you please give me a permission to use this photographs and make a video? Thanks Aditya Vanjare
Emil Cabagay Emil Cabagay 4/28/2016 06:46
You're great Alina! We enjoy viewing your report !
AlvaroFrota AlvaroFrota 4/27/2016 08:38
What pretty pictures! Thank you!
yesenadam yesenadam 4/27/2016 10:47
I love the black and whites too. Great stuff.
alataque alataque 4/27/2016 10:46
Your reports are always a treat for the eyes. Thanks.