Wednesday, September 18, 2013


At the recent Serangoon Inter-Team competition where I partnered my students, I had the chance to cross swords with several of the juniors from the other teams. As I do not get the chance to play in tournaments often, there are few opportunities to meet them over the board. Here are some of my first impressions of their play  (I hope the parents reading about their children do not take it too personally).

My first encounter was round 2, playing White against Steffi Lim. She's played in many competitions, generally quite calm, but tends to give up easily when things do not work out her way. One of the most important qualities in a chess-player is to be resilient and always being resourceful out even when things do not work out. Only this way can one improve and succeed.


My next junior opponent is Carwyn Yeo, an aggressive young man who has got ambition on his eyes. He concentrates well and was eyeing me for breakfast that morning. I feel that I have to tread very carefully as he's generally sharp in tactics but not so alert positionally. So that's how I chose my approach to his opening which sadly I feel does not suit his style of play. The tactical player should go for the main lines of the Yugoslav rather than avoid theory with the Levenfish which is generally positional in nature and offers less opportunities for wins against Black.

I played Steffi as Black in the Knockout 1st round but this time she chose an insipid line against the Sicilian and got ground down to defending the f3 square, mainly because she transposed to a French-like structure which she did not quite understand how to play. Sorry for not annotating so vigorously but I do not have too much time to spend over these games and usually refer to the computer for their assessments. Hence my notes are mainly in words which reflect my thoughts at the time of play.

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