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.”