Impressions from the Polar Capital Open

(This entry was published in unfinished form, twice, due to a bad case of time-optimism from my side.) For the third year in a row I participated in Jersey’s annual open, the Polar Capital Open. It is a lovely tournament which is played at the Hotel Ambassadeur, next to the scenic St. Clemens Bay. The tides in front of the venue are impressive and within only a few hours the landscape changes dramatically. If you like walking on sand, then you can walk for miles and miles and encounter few obstacles.

This years tournament was stronger than it was last year, with a handful of grandmasters and some strong international masters too. Already in the second round I had to face IM David Eggleston (draw), so for those hunting for norms, this was a good opportunity. In the third round I played against Alan Merry, whom I lost against (deservedly) last year, and I played somewhat cautious, missed the chance for some advantage and had to pull the hand brake in order not to drift into a worse position. For me, it wasn’t the best start, but I was happy with the way I played anyway. During the next three rounds I again scored 2/3 and Alan Merry started to cut through the grandmasters in the field. In round four he won convincingly against Pruijssers, in round five Vakhidov couldn’t stop him and in round six he won convincingly against Hebden. It seemed like he could win the rest of the games if he kept the steam up. Then, in round seven he lost an exciting game against Jonathan Speelman. After a draw in round eith against Arkell, he had to win with the black pieces in order to get a grandmaster norm:

I eventually picked up some steam of my own and finished with 3/3 against the other top rated GM:s, which earned me a shared first place with Alan. My best game was played in the last round:

This weekend I played a tournament in Gothenburg and committed one of my worst blunders in a long while, in a deciding game. As they say in Sweden: “Upp som en sol, ned som en pankaka.” Literally: “Up like a sun, down like a pancake.”

DVD on the Modern

With the Candidate Tournament going on in Berlin, the chess world has turned like sunflowers in that direction and I guess my timing is the worst. One a half year ago I went to Simon Williams’ high tech study (at the end of a garden, in a shed) and shot a film where Simon and I go through the Modern together. It has been “in production” ever since, but now it is finally finished and can be downloaded at Ginger GM. I have seen some of it and although it annoys me that I repeat some phrases too often, I am quite happy with the result. If you read or bought one of my books on the Modern and wish to get your paws on a easier going, more general, viewpoint on the Modern (with a6, mostly), then this is it for you. Here is a sample.

So, then I thought, I ought to show my latest game in the Modern and came to the realization that I haven’t played my opening since the beginning of December. This even surprised myself. Really, the reason is as simple as that I have felt more interested in other stuff lately and have only invited my opponents to enter the Modern when I have been completely unprepared. To make matters worse, my last game with the Modern was not that good. The upside is that it was entertaining:

Not the best advertisement for the Modern, unless you are very superficial. I have every intention of playing this line again, but in a less chaotic manner.

Where’s the Go board?

We had to move to a new host, so updates and upgrades (and new security SSL) borked the Go plugin showing the go board and games. Not quite sure what nuked the plugin, but we’re working on it. As soon as we know what, we’ll move on to the how and then, the when. Unless we get very lucky, it won’t be tomorrow — but maybe the day after … ?

Sorry about the bother…

And we’re back! A very big thank you to François Mizessyn, developer of the maxiGos plugin, who fixed the problem!

An amazing go game

Today’s game is a go game that I found on the WorldBaduk Server the Friday before last. When I read my first book on go, “Fundamentals of go” by Kageyama Toshiro, I managed to follow most of what he wrote, but then there was this concept “thickness”, that he describes in rather lyrical words. I came to understand it in theory, but to go from there to actually using it in my own games has been quite difficult. In this game Park Junghwan makes wonderful use of thickness:

Dang Yifei (B) – Park Junghwan (W)

So, I guess I’m officially back to writing more. For some time there was very little info on go in english, apart from at gogameguru and Dwyrin’s stream on youtube. However, in the last few years, things have changed and now there are quite a few new places where one can learn a few things about go. I specially recommend Haylee and the American Go Association on youtube. Also, LongstrideBaduk, Littlelamb Go and Lightvolty are very good. All these are far, far stronger than I am.

I write mostly because it is a good thing, while learning a complex game, to put words on ones thoughts. It maintains focus and makes it possible to go back and check how you have developed. I have told many a young chess player to write about that which they want to learn. So, I’m merely following my own advice.

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