Round 4 report – from Stewart Reuben

As you can imagine, reports written on New Year’s Eve, in all honesty three hours into 2012, can be a bit disjointed. Anyway, here goes.

I asked Glenn Flear after his fourth round win about his loss to 17-year-old Samuel Franklin in round 3. He said he got swindled in rather a nice way.

Andrei Istratescu (3) v David Howell (3) was a very neat and tidy game. David said perhaps 19…h5 and h4 would have been more ambitious.

Wang Yue (2½) v Nikil Shyam (2½) was an elegant, clinical win for the Chinese GM.

Maxence Godard (2½) v Romain Edouard (2½) had a rather odd opening. White seems to be given too free a range in the centre. But it does seem fine. Romain tried very hard to wriggle his way to victory, but it was a fair draw. According to his friend Andrei Istratescu, Romain isn’t playing very well and is thus making a lot of moves.

Arghyadip Das (2½) v Deep Sengupta – it seemed unlikely this would end in anything other than a draw. They travelled together and are roommates.

Samuel Franklin (2½) v Simon Williams (2½) – the Commentary Room audience voted to concentrate on this game and they were absolutely correct. The opening was very normal development. The game exploded later. I suggested 29 Ra7 but it would be a brave man, or a computer, who would claim that would have been a better continuation. After move 31 White’s pawns looked like space invaders. The audience was on tenterhooks as to whether Simon would see the wonderful 36…Nc3ch. Oh thou of little faith. I discussed with Chris Ward, what percentage of games were ‘good’. We agreed it is about 25% and this compares favourably with many artistic, literary or sporting activities. Samuel lost the game, but he has good reason to be proud of his part in this artistic endeavour.

Paul Talsma (2) v Nick Pert (2) – White had a very reasonable game, but 27 Bxc6 looks to be an easier and more sensible way for White to continue. After Rxc6, in the resulting game, black’s two rooks dominated the white queen.

Amy Hoare (1) v Jack Rudd (1) – Jack often comes into the Commentary Room and then goes over his game. Both players played Space Invaders on opposite wings. Jack had a nice, fluent win. Are pawns, rushing down one wing, or in the centre, becoming a theme of this event?

Mark Hebden (2) v Robert Eames (2) – I would have needed the input of Chris Ward and/or a chess computer to be able to make intelligent comments on this game. But one matter is clear, it was of high quality