This week I'm going to try something a little different with the blog & borrow an idea from Carl Gorka & do a 'semi-live' blog. This will hopefully provide something of a change from the usual blogging contents, as well as making me focus (at least to some extent) on the chess as it is being played.
After the initial post, I'll edit the post at roughly hourly intervals, with a focus on the progress of the games on the top 6 boards, as well as any other interesting games underway in the tournament.
All games have gotten underway, after a few latecomers had their opponents asking me about forfeit times, however thankfully there have been no forfeits (apart from one I was advised of before the round started) tonight.
An early look at the top boards has Stojic-Pyke playing an English, with a somewhat unusual setup by Pyke, with his queenside pawns all on white squares. Gorka-Dragicevic is a Grunfeld without the usual exchange of knights & this seems to have left white in a slightly better position. Rujevic-Urban is a Sicilian that threatens to become particularly sharp at any moment. In the main tournament hall, John Dowling has left his g7 pawn on its initial square (he often, like myself, plays the Modern defense with 1...g6), while Dale-Hain looks like the sharpest of the games going, with a thematic (if not theoretical - I'm not so up-to-date to know if what has been played is theory or not) King's Indian position.
Stojic-Pyke is still in the opening stages, with both sides continuing to develop & formulate a middlegame plan. Gorka-Dragicevic has Gorka pressing Dragicevic's position, with a dangerous bishop on h6 & central pawns on d5 & e4, however it also looks like one of those positions where white's position could collapse if he tries for too much. Rujevic-Urban has turned into a queenless middlegame, with 5 pawns, 2 rooks, 1 bishop & 1 knight each, and looks (for the moment at least) to be fairly level. In the main hall Dowling's g7 pawn still has yet to move, as he finds himself in a double rook ending. West appears to be slightly better on the black side of a Benoni against Wyss, while Dale won tactically in the King's Indian that looked like it might provide some fireworks.
Other early results have wins for Chew, Kovacevic & Anton, with Lovegrove & Martin splitting the point in their encounter.
Stojic-Pyke is a queenless middlegame, where Pyke is ahead a pawn, but Stojic has his pieces working fantastically & is threatening to win two minor pieces for a rook, if not more. Gorka continues to pile the pressure on Dragicevic's position & looks to have the better game, but time will tell if its good enough to get the full point. Rujevic-Urban is now a knight v bishop ending, which at first glance appears to be better for Rujevic & his knight. In the main hall a small crowd has gathered around West's board to look at his attack, which looks to be winning. Michaille-Voon sees the Frenchman with mate threats that appear unstoppable, however Voon queen is harassing the white king & it looks good enough for a repetition.
Since last update, Dowling, Zelesco, Mijatovic, Lycett & Ogden have recorded wins, with around 10 games still playing.
Just two games still going. Gorka is a pawn up in a rook ending against Dragicevic, although it is still tricky, but Gorka definitely has winning chances. In the main hall Saint is a piece ahead against McCart in a rook ending, however each side has only two pawns left & there is potential for a rook & Bishop v rook ending to eventuate.
Other results have mostly gone according to rating, with wins to Stojic, Rujevic, Wallis, Beaumont & Harris on the top boards. In the main hall West's attack was enough to win, while Brown also won his game. Draws were the result in the games Papadinis-Penrose, Michaille-Voon & Reid-Beattie.
I'll post a game or two from the top boards when the last few games are done.
All games have now finished. Gorka managed to win the rook ending & Saint's extra piece proved decisive. I'm still trying to input the Gorka-Dragicevic game, so you'll have to be satisfied with the top board game Stojic-Pyke, which begins quietly, but erupts around move 16 with a number of exchanges, which sees black snatch a pawn, but white gets a huge amount of activity in return.
As usual, results are available on Chesschat.