Wednesday, December 26, 2007

World Cup 2007 : Khanty - Mansiysk, Russia : Here is the crucial position in Game 2 of the final match between Gata Kamsky and Alexei Shirov. They played four games, three of which were drawn. This is the game that put Kamsky over the top. At first glance, it is not easy to ascertain who has the advantage since black's rooks on the second rank looked very menacing plus the C3 pawn is ready for capture. With the C3 pawn gone, black will have a tremendous 3-pawn advantage on the queenside. The g8 square is defended by both the knight on h6 and the bishop on a2. White had to come out slugging, and at this point Kamsky played 32. Rd8+ Ng8 ( 32...Kg7 33. f6# ) 33. Ngf3...It was just fantastic how this knight ultimately played a decisive role in this game having started so far away on the g1 square. Shirof went 33...Rc3+ 34. Kf4 Rh5 35. Rg1 Rf6 ( 35...b5 36. Rgg8+ Bg8 37. Nf7+ Kg7 38. Nh6 Bb3 39. Ne5 Rc1 40. Kg5 Rg1+ 41. Neg4 and the black king is alone and very vulnerable ) 36. Ng5 h6 37. Ngf7+ 1 - 0. If play continued, it would have gone 37... Bf7 38. Nf7+ Rf7 39. Rgg8 Kh7 40. Ke5 and black does not have the time to promote his queenside pawns.

So, we now have an American in the coming WC cycle. Kamsky's next assignment is to beat Topalov (Sept. 2008) and then play the winner of the Kramnik-Anand match. Congrats to Gata Kamsky!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

World Youth Chess Championship 07: Although the Philippine team did not do exceptionally well in this tournament, there are good things to report about it. In the U18 category, Paolo Florendo placed considerably higher ( 32nd place ) than his initial ranking ( 101st ). He scored 6.5/11 points and that made him the highest ranked unrated player in his group. His performance rating was calculated to be at 2353.

In the U16 group, Carl Ochoa ended up in 58th place, down four slots from his initial ranking with an initial rating of 2164. He scored 5.5/11 with a performance rating of 2040. There were 125 players in his group. Now, in the U16 Girls, there were 103 participants, and one of them was Kimberly Cunanan who scored 5 /11 points and placed No. 62, down from being ranked no. 41.

U14, we've got Haridas Pascua coming up with 6/11 points, placing him at No. 47, down from his ranking at No. 28. He was rated 2177. U14 Girls, Chardine Camacho placed 23rd out of 114 players with 6.5/11 points. Chardine was ranked No. 9 with a rating of 2094.

For the U12 Girls, Brena Membrere did quite well when she place 50th after being ranked intially at No. 84. There were 121 participants in her group. Brena scored 6/11 points.

U10 Girls, we've got Mira Mirano with 6.5/11 points and placed No.30 from an being initially ranked No. 70. Congrats.

And, finally, we get to the U8 Girls where Samantha Glo Revita scored 6/11 points putting her in the No. 31 spot out of 73 participants. Samanthat was ranked No. 56 at the beginning of the tournament.

Eleven rounds of chess are grueling and just by participating in this tournament these young people deserve a well-earned congratulations.

Here is Brena Membrere's ending, in Round 3, playing white, against Tasmin Amra at the 31st move. Membrere moved her king up with 31. Ke2 Ke5 32. Kd3 h5 33. f4+ Kf5 34. Kd4 1-0 and you can already see that white will produce the extra passed pawn in the kingside and then head for the queenside to mop up the black pawns there for the win.