Round 5 report

Another deeply satisfying round for the spectators, most of whom no doubt aren’t even in Britain and who may not even have been born yet.

Deep Sengupta v Jun Zhao was a game very rich in ideas right from the start between two of the major tiger chess economies. Both players got into ferocious time trouble, the Commonwealth Champion playing solely on the increment for about 10 moves. His Na4 was confined to barracks for several moves in the  middle game. Like Chris Ward, I am a fierce supporter of B+N v R+2Ps. But here Black’s kingside passed pawns eventually looked like space invaders. Oops, that dates me. Many readers won’t be familiar with that old video game. Thus the Chinese player edged even further ahead of the field. Who can doubt that chess is a sport when observing Chris Ward’s commentary on such a game.

With hindsight, it looks like 15 Na4 was a tactical error on the part of the British Champion. It didn’t lose material immediately, but Romain Edouard was able to show that white’s rook, deep in Black’s position. was vulnerable rather than a strength. Eventually this netted the Frenchman a knight and, with it, the game. I suppose computers might make it look obvious. But these are games between carbon-based monsters.

With those two games claiming my undivided attention, that between Miklos Galyas and Alexandr Fier was another of bewildering complexity. I don’t even understand why they close to agree a draw when they did.

The Ruy Lopez is an insidious opening. The Pole didn’t seem to have much against Adam Ashton. Then quite suddenly he had completely infiltrated black’s position.

The patriotic spectators wanted to see something of the game between Robert Bellin and Mark Hebden. White chose an unusual variation of the Marshall Gambit in the Ruy Lopez. Then Black seemed to play effortlessly, proving his kingside initiative and bishop pair were more than enough for a mere pawn. But surely White’s resignation was a trifle premature?

In the game WIM Tereza Olsarova v GM Danny Gormally, what was wrong with 38…Rxh2 rather than Rd7? After that Black was simply a pawn down. Thus the Czech WIM, the partner of Maxim Rodshtein must now with 4/5 be a prime candidate for a norm, such as a WGM one. Anyway, such an upset deserves some sort of prize, so the CHESS.COM prize goes to Tereza for this round.

Who was I supposed to root for? Keith Arkell, a member of the English 50+ teams of which I am team leader; or Peter Constantinou who plays for my 4NCL team, FCA Solutions? 31 …e4 looks like a tactical error which, while kibitzing the game on line, I saw immediately. Whether that should have been sufficient to win the game 40 moves later, I don’t know.

Sharp eyed arbiter, Lara Barnes spotted a non-incident on Board 37. Andrew Fleming played the illegal move 22…O-O-O. Gus Sugden found 23 Rac1+ and black resigned. Black had already played Ra4 back to a8 earlier. It didn’t matter, White was winning anyway.

Tomorrow I leave for Tenerife for rest, recuperation and bridge. Whether the internet access will be up to my continuing these reports remains to be seen.