SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
…with a little chess!
Once more the weekend found me in Barcelona for the 2nd round of the Catalan Team Championships, one of Europe’s strongest team leagues! My team EEBCN , the defending champions, won its match against Montcada by the narrowest of margins: 5.5 to 4.5
Next week we are to play against Sabadell, probably the favourites on paper this year, with Paco Vallejo on board 1 followed by the Brazilian Fier on the 2nd board.I suppose that the winner of this match will win this year’s title…
My game against the Colombian-born Cuartas was an imperfect game with an odd opening. I stood somewhat better for most of the game, but as often happens with the quick time control of 90-minutes for the whole game (plus 30-sec), it is easy to lose control, start to play inaccurately and enter into an abyss. I could have won before move 35, but I will leave it to my readers to find out how! The ending was pleasing:
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 36th MOVE (36.b6)
gm CUARTAS,J elo 2544
White’s attack is crushing and the game did not last long. I was hoping for 36…Nd3 so that I could play the fancy 37.Rc7!. Unfortunately my opponent did not ”fall” into my trap and instead played 36…Nc6, which I replied 37.RxN! and he resigned.
CARLSEN DOMINATES TATA TOURNAMENT!
Congrats to the Norwegian youngster for proving–once more–that he is the top tournament player in the world today! Undefeated, he not only won by a margin of 1.5 points, but he also picked up rating points! (as if he needs them!)
Anand had an excellent result– even with a last round loss –and finished a very respectable 3rd/4th. The Indian grandmaster–and current world title holder– has been having problems finding his old level of play in recent years and perhaps this tournament will mark a re-birth of his old glory.
Aronian finished in 2nd position, a result I suppose that does not surprise too many fans. The chinese star Yifan Hou had a poor start but finished respectably with 5.5 points, even gaining rating points in the process! She took a chance playing in such a strong field, especially since the level of her play had recently dropped (probably because she plays non-stop). A disaster in this tournament could have set her career back for years!
Caruana lost 25 rating points and I am certain that his result was a big shock to him and his fans (I am a big fan!). How to explain this, especially, since Caruana has had so many excellent results in the past year? I suppose the Italian/American star has every right to have a bad result from time to time…
And my friend Ivan Sokolov pulled up the rear with a winless 3 points in 13 games. All of his games were interesting, but his style of play and opening choices were a bit too reckless, considering the level of players in the tournament.
CHESS ANTIQUES, ANYONE?
Jon Crumiller, an chess antiques collector ( website ) from Princeton has a GREAT collection of chess antiques that my readers might be interested in exploring. Jon is the current owner of that FABULOUS chess set from Havanna 1966 that I featured in an earlier blog