I nearly had to play in the Masters again today. There was an odd number and we hate to disappoint players who have come to play chess, no get a point by default. Fortunately, Bill Penfold stepped into the breach.
Wang Yue (4½) v Nick Pert (4) – why did the Englishman give up a pawn with 12…Bd7? White did not really become weak on the white’s squares to compensate. After this it was all downhill and the young Chinese player cemented his position at the top.
Andrei Istratescu (4) Deep Sengupta (4) – the current co-champion was justifiably proud of this game, turned up in the Commentary Room to discuss it and has entered it for the Horntye Park Best Game Prize. Apparently this is a well-known variation and 18…Be7 was the first innovation. Black’s bishops and passed pawns made it very difficult for White. 32 fxe4 would have been better. But it was 33…Bh3ch that set the board on fire.
Frank Holzke (4) v Romain Edouard (4) – this was a fair enough, albeit rather boring, draw. This happens in chess games and I don’t see that insisting on play continuing to king against king adds to the gaiety of nations.
Simon Knott (4) v David Howell (4) – the game became very complex. David had a lot of pressure, but there was nothing certain except Black inevitably getting into time trouble.
Yuri Vovk (4) v Sundar Shyam (4) – Chris Ward didn’t have time to commentate on this game. Thus I only played through it very late at night. The Ukrainian played with a fine disregard for material, but it is difficult to see what he had in compensation.
Arghyadip Das (4) v Babu Lalith (4) – this game again escaped Chris’s attention. I felt the play of the other co-champion of 2010-11 lacked finesse. The final combination will make it into the anthologies.
Thus a Chinese player leads and, hot on his heels, are three Indians, two of them members of the junior group that have been sent here for the second year in a row. I believe it was Nigel Short who first referred to the new tiger economies emerging in chess.