As we enter the final lap of this marathon tournament, each and every one of our players should be fighting for something. It would be easy to take your foot off the accelerator. OK, perhaps we are not fighting for medals, but we are fighting for rating points, personal pride and our country. When you look back in the face of success or failure and know that you did everything you could, then you should be sleeping soundly and without regret.
Today Gautam Jain on 1.5 points had a bye. Gautam loves his chess and will be hungry for success and to get back into the swing in round 9 after the enforced extra day break.
Callum Brewer was playing a Swiss FM today as black in a long but fruitless struggle lasting more than 4.5 hrs. Callum was never able to wrestle the advantage from the Swiss player in a positional game where white’s king activity and strong knight proved to be the deciding factors. Callum fought hard but lost unfortunately and starts round 9 on 3/8.
Koby Kalavannan was black against a Russian FM. After reaching an equal position in the opening the game swung in the Russian’s favour and he had quite an advantage however after some sloppy play and excellent chess by Koby the England player reached time control in a dominant position, despite being under severe time pressure at one stage. Koby came away deflated after not being able to convert the objectively won position and ultimately drew the game. Koby in post-match analysis found it difficult to comprehend why he made the mistake that he did. The mistake amounted to a mental slip rather than a lack of knowing the route to victory. However, as Peter Wells suggested it would be pointless to overthink things at this stage. With 3 games to go, maximising results is key and wasting time on negative emotions would just interfere with the objective. A good night’s sleep and the strength of character that Koby already possesses is all that is required to achieve more successes in this tournament. Koby starts round 9 on 4.5/8
(145) Mukhutdinov, Tigran (2256) – Kalavannan, Koby (2365) [B23]
Max French had a fantastic victory with the black pieces against his Kazakhstani opponent in a game of over 100 moves. Max eventually won a Knight and Bishop vs King endgame. It might be that Max gets another chance to play out this endgame in another 5 years. Every chess player knows the frustration of not knowing how to finish a particular ending, but this is one Max would expect to convert comfortably at his level. Max is 4/8 going into round 9.
Leif Hafstad had the black pieces against his lower rated Greek opponent and completed a crushing victory. Leif offered a piece for a huge attack and a King hunt followed and Leif eventually offered the death blow and checkmate to put his opponent out of his misery. Leif is now on 3/8.
Aditya Munshi was facing a 2000-rated Croatian player as black. According to Aditya and his coach Glenn Flear Aditya handled the complications of this tangled position in a superior way which eventually won him the game. Aditya is on 4.5/8 and will face a challenging game in round 9. This is the first time though that Aditya has put back to back victories together and he should be confident with the quality of his play.
Ilya Misyura lost today with the white pieces against his higher rated Polish opponent. Ilya faced a rare side-line in an opening which led to a forced sequence of moves. Ilya followed the variation through to its conclusion and found computer moves at each turn, but the time taken to find the correct path was his down fall. As the time control neared the quality of his moves deteriorated and Ilya blundered into a lost position. By his own admission Ilya underestimated the complexity of the perfect refutation when perhaps a more practical, though slightly inferior approach was the order of the day. Ilya will start round 9 on a healthy 3.5/8 with much to fight for in the last 3 rounds.
Christopher Tombolis also put back to back wins together in the U14 section by beating another Greek opponent with the black pieces. Christopher transitioned into a winning Rook endgame and finished the game with a tactical flourish. Christopher is now on 4/8 and will be on a live board for the next game.
Nilomi Desai also won today with the black pieces against her opponent from Montenegro outplaying her in a well-controlled game. Nilomi is currently on 3/8
Nadia Jaufarally played a long game against a Canadian WFM but could have won the game much sooner after failing to take advantage of a blunder. Nadia showed her determination and eventually emerged victorious in an interesting Queen vs Rooks endgame. Nadia is on 4/8
(144) Jaufarally, Nadia (1810) – He, Emma (1674) [C54]
Anita Somton playing with the white pieces convinced her American opponent to give her a draw in a losing position. Anita has used her poker face a couple of times this tournament to good effect. Anita is on 3.5/8 and will be looking to put together some games to be proud of in the rounds to come.
Into round nine with a winning line …
— Glafcos Tombolis