Monday, October 17, 2011

40th QUEENSTOWN CHAMPIONSHIP

The tournament has 2 sections, the Open for those 1601 and above and the Novice Section for those rated 1600 and under.

Shi Hao and Mitchell took part, with Shi Hao ending on 3.5 and Mitchell on 4.5. He was placed 23rd in the field of 96 players, beating Foo Kai En in the last round who's rated 1392. He should get about 30 rating pts from this tournament.

What matters to me is not so much just the results but tbe valuable lessons one learns during the course of the seven games. When Mitchell started off his first game, he lost it in about 20 minutes. What he was not aware of is the time management of his game which needs a little adjustment. He was working out 1 variation which he saw and did not try to see other moves which could be better. After explaining to him that the purpose of spending time was to first SELECT the candidate moves, evaluate the resultant position of EACH candidate move and then picking the best of the lot. Hence the need to take one's time to do this, especially if there are many possible ways to make a capture or a pawn move that can change the pawn structure leading to a different game. I was impressed that he reflected on this and proceeded to slow down, playing better moves from Round 2 onwards. He managed to draw Andrew Tan, rated 1423 even though he had a win but did not have the confidence to convert. The reward came in the final round when he kept his cool, played the Fort Knox and gradually consolidated his position from the huge space advantage White had throughout the game. It was in the endgame that the decisive mistake was made, out of time trouble I believe. White went into winning a pawn but that meant exchanging all Rooks and Queen into a lost pawn endgame which Mitchell converted. Finally, he understood why the Fort Knox was the name chosen for the opening he played, simply because  he has discovered that good defence is also another way of winning a chess game apart from direct attacks on the King. 

A happy Mitchell with his trophy


Shi Hao was steamrolled by a young Ting JinShun. This was a pure case of underestimating his opponent, whom he thought he could just play to win without much resistance. I did not chastise him after the loss but wanted him to reflect on his attitude towards younger opponents. Sometimes, the best way to teach a lesson is not necessarily to explain, but allow the player to reflect and understand where he went wrong. The lesson would be internalised for sure after a painful defeat.

Some of the losses were due to the unfamiliarity of the openings like the Scandinavian or not so common replies to their White repertoire. Will need to do some work in repairing the chinks in the armour. Till their next tournament...

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