Fairfield is proving to be a happy hunting ground for Igor Bjelobrk. After winning the club's Summer Cup last December, today he won the Winter Cup. His total score was 6.5/7. Igor definitely won the respect of foreign visitor, Sales. The Filipino player considered Igor's play to be quite strong and solid. Sales himself finished outright second. Their individual encounter was a win for Igor.
I was there only as spectator and to take photos. So I had plenty of time on my hands - listening to stories, catching up with a mate. Hec, I even learned that William Shakespeare was Lebanese! Yep, I'm talking about the great man himself - The Bard.
Now that bit of info maybe a wee bit unbelievable, but did you know that Ilja Ilic once beat the great Mikhail Tal in a blitz game? Ilja will also tell you that after a session with the booze, Tal was so drunk that Ilja had to carry him back to his room as if he were a little baby.
After the tournament, Mr Bautista invited some Pinoys over to his place. There we were entertained by Jesse Sales telling stories of Vulture's Park. It is where the chess hustlers of Manila hang out. The usual story. Some fish comes along and wins 10 games in a row. The bet goes up and bang, before the fish knows it, the hustler has won everything except his undies.
One day, some "fish" came along and the unthinkable happened. The fish was unbeatable. His name? Robert J. Fischer.
Jesse was also kind enough to go through his games against GM Antonio and IM Paragua (played at the La Union Open). It was very instructive. From here, Jesse will proceed to Canberra to play in the ANU. Then he will return to Sydney, hopefully to play at Rose Bay, then finally head for Malaysia. The entire Australian trip is funded by Jesse himself. He informs me that trips to some countries like Spain and other Asian countries are eligible for funding from the Philippine Sports Commission. Australia is not one of those countries. But how good is it that this "poor" country can still take the time to support chess? Now there's a cultured people for you. In fact, the government even issues chess players with their own special ID cards. Jesse's reads "Athlete - Chess".
Anyway, here's a couple of games from the Winter Cup. In the first, our friend FM Lee Jones manages to get himself confused over theory. He goes down to Armen in eleven moves.
2005 Fairfield Winter Cup
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 c5 4. e5 Ng8 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. d4 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nxe5 8. Qa4 According to Armen, this was apparently invented by Timman.
8 ... f6?? Why did he play this? It seems he expected a knight to land on b5 instead! (8... b6 9. Bf4 Qc7 10. Bg3 h5 11. h4 Ne7 12. O-O-O N7g6 13. Bd3 Nxd3+ 14. Rxd3 Qc5 15. Ndb5 Ne5 16. Re3 f6 17. Bxe5 fxe5 18. Ne4 Qc6 19. Rd1 d5 20. Ng5 Bd7 21. Rxe5 Rc8 22. Nxe6 Qxc4+ 23. Qxc4 Rxc4+ 24. Kb1 Bxe6 25. Rxe6+ Kf7 26. Re3 Rxh4 27. Rxd5 Bc5 28. Rd7+ Kg6 29. Re6+ Kh7 30. f3 Rh1+ 31. Kc2 Rh2 32. Re2 h4 33. Nc3 Rc8 34. Kd2 Rc6 35. a3 Rg6 36. b4 Bd6 37. Ke3 Be5 38. Ne4 Rhxg2 39. Rxg2 Rxg2 40. f4 Bb2 41. Rxa7 h3 42. Kf3 Rg1 43. Ng5+ Kg6 44. Nxh3 Ra1 45. a4 Kf5 46. Rf7+ Bf6 47. Ra7 Ra3+ 48. Kg2 Kg4 49. Nf2+ Kxf4 50. a5 b5 51. Nh3+ Kg4 1/2-1/2 Suba, M - Averbakh, Y / Polanica Zdroj 1976/MCL) 9. Nxe6 Qe7 10. Nd5 Qd6 (10... Qxe6 11. Nc7+ Kf7 12. Nxe6 dxe6 is not going to be enough.) 11. Nec7+1-0
The next game features new comer Aina Musaeva. She is definitely one to look out for and may one day, hopefully, compete for a place in our women's Olympiad team.
2005 Fairfield Winter Cup
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Bd3 Bg6 7. O-O Nd7 8. Bf4 Ngf6 9. Re1 e6 10. Ne5 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Qd8 12. Nxd7 Qxd7 13. Ne4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Bd6 15. Be5 Bxe5 16. Qxe5 Rg8 17. Rad1 O-O-O 18. Rd3 Qc7 19. Qxc7+ 1/2-1/2