London Chess Classic 2015

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Today I came back home from London. I think I could write entire article just about my travel as I missed my flight and basically was stressed more than during the whole tournament 😀

…but let’s better talk about positives. I played in FIDE Open and the field was quite strong, there were 28 GMs, 34 IMs and I was 63rd on the starting list so it was a great chance to show my potential. I managed to outplay every weaker player I faced quite convincingly and each game against stronger player was full of fight. I played 2 guys from world top 100, GM E.Postny and GM H.Melkumyan, even though I lost those games I played very agressively and had some chances. After 6 rounds I had 4 points but still without a win over someone strong so the real test came in the last three rounds where I made 2,5 with average above 2450! I beat 2 GMs and made a draw with 1 good IM.

I shared 8th place, my performance was above 2500, I got 4th International Master norm and gained more than 40 ELO points so on January I’ll finally cross 2400! My detailed results: http://chess-results.com/tnr197807.aspx?lan=1&art=9&fed=POL&flag=30&wi=821&snr=63

LCC 2015

In front of Olympia where the event took place

I also had a chance to follow the best players in the world live in action. Unfortunately they were playing more less at the same time as I was playing my games so I was unable to enjoy it as much as I wanted… Still that was nice to sit in their playing hall and experience it live, not online.

Naka vs Caruana

just before handshake Caruana vs Nakamura

There wasn’t a lot of time to visit the city but I managed to see a thing or two 🙂 One thing which caught my eye immediately was… chess set (made 12th century!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_chessmen

Lewis Chess Set in the British Museum

What can I say more? I’m just looking forward playing more such tournaments!

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How I scored 3rd International Master norm

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At the beginning of this year I have announced (see here: https://piongu.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/i-play-better-chess-when-i-write-about-it/) I’m going to play more chess and you can expect big comeback 😀 And here it is. In July I’ve played two tournaments, one just a day after another and in the second (Najdorf Memorial in Warsaw) I managed to get my 3rd International Master norm quite easily with confidence. I secured it after 8 rounds so I could even loose the last game 😀

performance

 

Indeed the performance 2531 is quite stunning, I recovered nearly 60 ELO points and what’s the most important – I played against really strong field (5 GMs, 3 IMs, 1 FM – average rating 2488) – detailed info under this link: http://www.chessarbiter.com/turnieje/2015/ti_1274/results.html?l=pl&pr=59_. But… about my previous tournament there’s not much to say, I played couple interesting games but the overall score was much below expectations. My performance there was 2230, so how on earth it is possible to perform 300 ELO points better just within couple days?

In last years when I was playing only occasionally I always had a feeling at the end of the tournament that now I can play on a good level. In other words, if I had played the next tournament right away I would have performed much better. See what I wrote one year ago – “As usual now I feel like I would play much better chess if I play next tournament but next month I’m doing some other stuff so I can forget everything again just to recall it during the next tournament”  (https://piongu.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/289/). It’s obvious after the tournament one can remind himself quite many things, some opening lines, the way to calculate during the game etc. so one should perform better in the next tournament. But can it really make such a huge difference? And on the other hand one could say that it’s more likely to become tired playing one tournament after another without any break… It all sounds like some kind of storytelling which happens very often to chess players (The subject was very well covered by psychologist and GrandMaster Jonathan Rowson in his great book “Chess for Zebras” Gambit 2005) and maybe in some way it is but that were at least my thoughts and the reason why I necessarily chose to play two tournaments instead of one. That was my theory and it worked perfectly. Of course I don’t rule out any other influences on my score like the fact it was less hot during the second event or simply I was playing much stronger opponents against whom I usually play more responsibly and just better. One thing for me is clear anyway  – The best way to prepare for the tournament is to play the tournament! That can’t be a rule of thumb for all players, especially for some old guys with poor physical condition but for the players like me that looks like the way to go 🙂

Romanishin_vs_Nguyen

…and here is me playing against the legendary GrandMaster Oleg Romanishin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Romanishin) – probably the toughest opponent I have ever met. Playing against him was really inspiring. He crashed me terribly 3 years ago but this time I managed to make a draw.

Polish Championships in Blitz 2015

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This weekend I’ve just played 2 blitz tournaments 🙂 Although I never consider myself as a decent blitz player I think this time I played quite well and even gained some blitz rating points what’s very good prognosis for my upcoming tournaments in July.

Results of team championships: http://www.chessarbiter.com/turnieje/2015/tdr_1759/final_standings_teams&15.html – where I scored 12,5/14 for my team GOSTMAT Gostynin and we managed to win bronze medal!

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with my team Gostmat Gostynin!

Results of individual championships: http://chessarbiter.com/turnieje/2015/ti_1758/final_standings&15.html – where unfortunately in the last 3 rounds I missed some chances and I ended up on 20th place which is not that bad and overall I took away some points from some strong guys.

All in all… that was successfull weekend!

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Tricky Endgame

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I promised to write about Najdorf Memorial but again somehow I didn’t have much time 😀 and basically there was not much to say… I lost 7th round to relatively weaker opponent and it was kind over for me. I made draw in 8th round and won 9 round finishing the event with only 4/9 again loosing some ELO points. But I think it was very good training for me, I learnt few new things and what’s maybe much more important – I reminded myself bunch of interesting things I knew some years ago. As usual now I feel like I would play much better chess if I play next tournament but next month I’m doing some other stuff so I can forget everything again just to recall it during the next tournament 😉 That’s how it works when you don’t play regularly… and it’s not only with chess, it’s with everything, it’s life.

In order not to leave you with just some sad comments I’ll share with you one interesting endgame from the tournament. In 4th round I played White against Woman International Master Yuliya Shvayger (rated 2287). I got winning position after the opening but I managed to spoilt later just getting slightly better endgame.

P.Nguyen vs Y.Shvayger

 

It’s Black to move and it looks that even though c4 pawns is falling Black can create some counterplay as White has so many pawn islands.

30…Rd8? with interesting idea in mind should White take on c4 but it just runs to nice grip for White by force.

Correct was 30… Ra8 31. a4 (immediate 31.Rxc4?! is not good in view of  31…Ra3) Ra5 32. Rxc4 Ke6 and even though White won a pawn things are not that easy 33. e4 +/=

31.Nd5+!

Black’s idea was that after 31. Rxc4? she could play 31…Ne5 32. Rc7+ Ke6 33. Kf2 (33. Rxh7?! Rd2 and Black will pick up some pawns while White’s king is very weak) 33… Rd2+ 34. Ne2 Kd6 35. Rc3 Rd1 and even though White is pawn up it’s hard to create any passed pawns, Black is very active so it would have ended most likely with a draw.

31… Ke8 32. Re6+ Kf7 33. Rd6 Ke8 34. a4! Fixing b6 pawn, Black is in kind of zugzwang 34…f5

Black couldn’t move the rook 34… Ra8?? 35. Rxd7; 34… Rc8?? 35. Rxd7; and if 34…Rb8? 35. Kf2 +- and Black is hopeless.

35. Kf2 Nc5 Black had to do this finally 36. Rxd8+ Kxd8 37.Nxb6 c3 (37…Kc7 38.a5!) 38. Ke2 h5P.Nguyen vs Y.Shvayger

 

Now I went a bit wrong with 39. Kf3

The fastest way to finish the job was straightforward 39. a5 Kc7 40. Nd5+ Kb7 41. Nxc3 Ka6 42. Nd5 Kxa5 43. Ne7 picking up kingside pawns.

39… Nd3!? and things became very tricky but I managed to keep everything under control. 40. a5

It was  easy to spoil the position playing passive 40.Ke2 Nb4 and now still 41.a5 Kc7 42.Na4! wins but one could go 41.Kd1? Kc7 42.Nc4 h4 (42…Kc6 43.Na3!) 43.Na3! and probably White still wins but the mess was really unnecessary.

40…Nb4 (40… Kc7 41.Nd5+ Kb7 42. e4 +-) 41. e4! I worked out it well and the rest is very simple

41…f4 (41… Nxc2 42. a6 Nd4+ 43. Ke3 Nb5 44. exf5 +-) 42. Ke2 Nxc2 43. a6 Nd4+ 44. Kd3 Nb5 (44… c2 45. a7 c1=Q 46. a8=Q+ Ke7 47. Nd5+ Kf7 48. Kxd4+-) 45. Nd5 h4 (45… c2 46. Kxc2 Kd7 47. Nf6+ Kc8 48. Nxh5 Kc7 49. e5 $18) 46. Nxc3 Nxc3 47. a7 1-0

 

 

The most important are 3 last rounds

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Hi,

As some of you may have already been following I’m playing Najdorf Memorial in Warsaw. The tournament is very strong and I have 2,5 out of 6 rounds. I played 2 GMs (made draw with one of them) so it’s not that bad but I still feel like I’m far from playing my best… Yesterday I played nearly 9 hours! (one game 5, second 4 hours) so I’m really exhausted… I hate double rounds…

IMG_5840

playing Black against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda. This game ended in a draw after 5 hours long battle…

Still, as they say “The most important are 3 last rounds” 😀

The pairings for today:

http://www.chessarbiter.com/turnieje/2014/ti_1759/results.html?l=pl&tb=1_&rd=7_

Wroclaw 2-10.07

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Since my last tournament where I made IM norm I haven’t been training chess at all even though I wanted to do this. I had enormous amount of obligations at my university and probably this summer I won’t play much…

Currently playing in Wroclaw http://www.chessarbiter.com/turnieje/2012/ti_1466/. Things are not going very well for me but on the other hand it’s not that bad. After 7 rounds I have 4,5/7 and 2 rounds still to be played. You can follow my games online. I may write more about my tournament, maybe comment on some of my games etc. when I’ll get back home (as usual I don’t have comfortable way to access Internet during the tournament).

my impressions after Ostravsky Konik 2012

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As I promised I’m writing more about my last tournament…

I have already played in Ostrava in 2008 (my first tournament in Czech Republic) and scored very well, 8th place and performance close to 2400. In next years I wanted to play there again but somehow I was unable mainly due to school obligations. This year I have lots of things to do at my university but just few days before start of the tournament I decided I can get away with it.

I was 6th on the starting list and first and second round were quite easy for me, sometimes this is a key for me to score well in the tournament – just not to loose any points against weaker opponents. In 3rd and 4th round I didn’t play great but well enough to score 1,5/2 against players 2300+.

5th round was very important to me, I was playing Black versus IM Pavel Simacek who defeated me recently in Novy Bor. I had good score in the tournament (3,5/4) so I treated this encounter very seriously and was preparing whole day as I was doing some years ago. Both players were playing the opening very quickly being confident own variations but it was me who got won opening battle. I got great position with Black:

diagram

P.Simacek (2447) – P.Nguyen (2374), Ostrava 2012 – position after 25 moves, White to move

Black is exchange down but bishop pair together with pawn on d3, total control over c-file and lack of coordination between White’s rooks gives Black practically winning position. White tried 26.Nc1 and I could choose between two winning ideas:

  • 26…Rc2 27.Nxd3 Bb5 28.Ke1 preparing Rd2 but there’s 28…Be3 and White is in kind of zugzwang!
  • 26…d2 27.Nd3 Be3 and White can’t give up exchange by means of 28.Ke2 because of …Re8 and if 29Rxd2 then …Bf4+ 30.Kd1 Ba4+ winning and in case of let’s say 28.b3 Black can play 28…d4 followed by …Rc3, …Bb5 etc. White is busted.

In the game however I went completely wrong, I played 26…Ba4? 27.b3 and I could still keep something with 27…Bb5 but I played 27…Rxc1?? and after 28.Rxc1 Bxb3 29.Rb1! White is winning… I totally missed move like Rb1… now after 29…Bxc4 came 30.Rxb6 axb6 31.Ke1 and Black couldn’t survive.

It’s really bad I didn’t win this position… I should win position like this even against Kasparov because if I don’t win having so big advantage how big should it be? One can say “it happens to everyone” and it’s true but I should find the reason of my bad decisions anyway.

Rounds 6th and 7th were quite strange for me. In 6th round there were many mistakes from both sides, game was very messy and eventually drawn and in 7th round I equalized with Black and just kept pressure for some time and my opponent blundered so I won easily.

On the other hand 8th round was very interesting, I recommend you to find this game in database (Pacher Milan – Nguyen Piotr, Ostrava 2012). I played Black against young IM 2400+ and it was extremely sharp and after difficult battle it was me who scored one point!

And to my surprise I had great result in the tournament and draw in last round was enough for me to get International Master norm. Those who are reading my blog regularly understand how much I tried to get this… So the last round was agreed for a draw without any hessitations from both sides. I was White and win would give me 1st place in the tournament so I could try but norm is a norm, I can play next tournament but now I achieved this what I was trying to achieve for almost 3 last years… (my first norm was during holidays 2009 in Olomouc).

To Summarize: I played just normal chess, nothing special and in the only game where I had really professional opening preparation I lost. What was the key I made this IM norm so easily? I don’t really know… 😛 Maybe all I needed was more experience and good tournament (average of my opponents was 2300+) so I could show sth instead of constantly fighting with much weaker opponents.

Tournament website: http://ostravskykonik.cz/ and final results http://www.chess-results.com/tnr71611.aspx?art=1&rd=9&lan=5&turdet=YES&flag=30

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