If this round is to be typical of the new year, we are in for a rare treat. The games today were rich in interesting concepts. The games were not necessarily perfect, indeed perhaps necessarily were not perfect, but they were a veritable feast of ideas.
One of the advantages of staying at the Travelodge is being able to discuss the games with the players late at night. The game between Daniel Alsina Leal and Sarunas Sulskis is an example. Chris Ward provided insights into the game in the Commentary Room. I failed to ask Daniel why not 33…Qxb2? 36…Rd8 was very passive. 36…Rc8 37 Rxd5? Rc2 is very strong. 37 Nf1 would have been the move. 59 Kc1 probably wins. 79 Rc3+ perhaps deserves a question mark, 79 Nc3 would provide some chances of winning. But who could believe knight + 2 passed pawns against a bishop would be a complete draw? Well, perhaps Sarunas had worked it out.
Daniele Vocaturo has clearly recovered from his chest infection and the young English/Frenchman was outclassed. Too many people have been ill at this tournament to list all of them. You can trace them because they have taken a couple of half point byes and then returned later. Many people have had a stomach bug that seems to be particularly virulent this year in Hastings.
Gawain Jones against Keith Arkell was a local derby. The Czech Benoni seems to be all the rage at this event. 18…N f5 was my suggestion in the Commentary Room. It earned me a chocolate. But why did Keith delay Rxh3 until move 31? By then he had dramatically strengthened White’s queenside. 36 Rh1 is a star move which will be seen in several chess positions.
The Spaniard pointed out to me late this evening that disaster had struck Glenn Flear in his game on Board 9 against Chelsie Monica Sihite of Indonesia. 27…Rc8 draws. But 30…g5? loses (while 30…Kd7 or Kd8 draws). 31 Kf3 h5 32 h4 gxh4 33 Kg2 and Black is completely busted despite being 3 pawns up in a king and pawn endgame.