The tournament now has an outright leader, with Ari Dale beating Laurent Michaille on the white side of a Nimzo-Indian Defense, while co-leader Carl Gorka was defeated by David Beaumont. The leaves Ari half a point ahead of a chasing pack of David Beaumont, Justin Penrose & Rad Chmiel. The further complication to the tournament is that Ari is off to Sydney to play in the Asian Amateurs Championship next week, so will be taking a half-point bye! This means that after round 6, the leader(s) will be on 5/6 & the tournament will still be wide open!
The top board clash between Ari Dale & Laurent Michaille saw Laurent play the Nimzo-Indian Defense & found himself in a tangle early, with pressure against his knights. Ari used his space advantage & bishop pair to create further problems for Laurent, who decided to sacrifice an exchange to complicate the position. Unfortunately, Ari's passed c-pawn created further problems for Laurent & ultimately proved decisive.
David Beaumont uncharacteristically played 1.e4 against Carl Gorka, but it was all a cunning plan to get the game into a favourable English, without having to face a line with an early d5. After some positional maneuvering in the middlegame, Carl blundered with 21...Bg5 & David found the way through the tactics to emerge with an extra piece that he converted into the full point.
Paul Kovacevic went astray early on the white side of a Dutch Defense against Justin Penrose, when he did not see Penrose's strong move 19...Rxd4! This tactic eventually won Penrose a piece & he quickly used his active rooks to overwhelm Kovacevic's king to take the point.
Rad Chmiel & David Lacey played an interesting c3 Sicilian, with a variety of tactical and positional alternatives for both players. Ultimately a series of exchanges occurred & the players found themselves in an ending with Chmiel's two rooks & bishop facing Lacey's two rooks & knight. The position was further complicated by pawn majorities on opposite sides of the board, and Chmiel's pawns proved faster in the position. Although computer analysis suggested that Lacey may have been able to hold the position with accurate play, he erred & was forced to give up his rook for Chmiel's b-pawn & Chmiel was able to halt Lacey's pawns with his king & rook to secure the victory.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.
This week's game sees David Beaumont's opening experiment prove successful, as he gets the type of position he was after, and then successfully navigates the middlegame tactics to retain his position just half a point off the pace.