The students taking part in the various sections include:
Girls U-8 - Cadence Loh
Boys U-8 - Naython Tan, David Tan, Emmanuel Lim Rei
Girls U-10 - Grace Ho, Cheong Sue Lyn
Boys U-10 - Caleb Loh, Jonathan Tan, Malcolm Sow, Jaryl Seah, Elliot Lim Han, Jaden Rabind Charles
Boys U-14 - Lee I-Shiuan, Tan Zhong Kai, Keith Khoo, Rohin Singh, Adrian Yeo, Bryan Sow
The 3 female students that took part did reasonably well. All were playing in the first-ever long time-control of 1.5 hrs per side. They managed to stay in the game for about 1-2 hrs which is commenable. Though Cadence has just started with me, Sue Lyn showed the most promise having beaten the likes of Lisa Tan, R Shahana and Grace and achieving a performance rating of 1224. There is great potential for this girl if she takes the game seriously and works hard.
Though there were not too many contestants in each U8 and U10 category, Cadence got a prize for finishing 4 / 9 to come in 10th place. The U-10 saw Grace and Sue-Lyn on 5 / 9 pts, finishing 8th and 9th placing.
Naython and David were a little overawed by the size of the tournament. However, it was David who managed to compose himself to play each game past the 1 hour mark and I'm very proud of him. Scoring 5/9 ending at 29th out of 84 players, David has done very well!
Naython has just started and therefore requires guidance to the world of tournament chess. In time, we will see more of him.
Here my U10 students were paired against each other and this makes for a photo opportunity- Malcolm against Caleb, Elliot and Jaryl against others. Of the 4 boys, my praise goes to Jaryl for dutifully following my advice of keeping to the checkpoints (ie 27 minutes for first 12 moves, then another 18 minutes for next 8 etc) and spending his time concentrating and finding good moves. He scored the best among the newbies with 5 / 9 pts at 24th place. Malcolm threw 2 games away ending on 5 / 9 but at 33rd, Elliot on 4.5 at 34th. Jaden's lack of practice showed in his games as he was unable to concentrate and ended on 54th with 3.5 pts.
My heart goes out to the pre-tournament favourite Royce, currently my best and hardest working student. He was cruising on 6 / 6 when disaster struck. Trying his best to erase the negative score he had against the eventual winner Alfred Chua, he erred in a better position and allowed Alfred to queen his pawn with just 2 minutes left on the clock. I suspect he was trying to win the game but took unnecessary risks allowing counterplay. This was the 3rd time I've seen Alfred run away winning from a lost position. Playing Delroy with his confidence shaken, he was unable to lift himself up from the earlier loss and lost again. Only a last round win kept him at 3rd place. Another painful lesson for Royce, but best learnt now. Never let your guard down even when victory is in sight. You do not stop pushing until the other player resigns.
Adrian Yeo was also a favourite to win the U14 being among the top seeds, but his lack of preparation showed in the way the winner Tommy disposed of him within 30 moves. Having realised his Achilles heel several tournaments ago, he made no attempt to improve on it and hence suffered 2 significant defeats. Only through a win against Cameron Goh did he redeem himself into 4th place. Thus talent alone is not enough. It is important to put in preparation, lots of it in fact if you aim to reach the top.
My other boys did not do as well. Based on my post mortem analysis I believe that their tactics and positional sense generally let them down. Not spending enough time on the position too is a causal factor. Before the competition, I had urged everyone to improve their physical fitness in order to withstand the strain of the gruelling 3 rounds a day. In the end, fatigue, inadequate game preparation plus weak tactical calculations did them in.
Overall, in spite of the shortcomings, I am satisfied with my students' behaviour and performance given that they are not accustomed to such a time-control of 1.5 hrs per side. Though I had prepared them to change their habits of playing the first move that comes to mind, it takes discipline to resist that and ponder for candidate moves. That comes from playing slow games I'm afraid.