Learning opening theory is supposed to save you time so you can spend most if it in the middle and endgames. You trot out the first dozen or two moves and only then get down to the real business. OK, so you're happily promenading along a main line Sicilian thinking you're a regular super grandmaster. Isn't it boring? Where's the chess in that?
The tournament's favourite and top seed, George Xie, arrived late for his game against Nick Chernih. As soon as he sat down, the two players banged out their first 24 moves in quick succession. They were playing so fast that a large crowd quickly gathered and wondered what was going on. It was all theory and no time was wasted.
Unfortunately folks, I don't have this game - but we'll try and get it.
We do have the game score to Song, R. - Bird. The now world famous giant killer continues on his winning form by this time defeating the current NSW state champ Andrew Bird. Raymond thus extends his lead over top seed FM George Xie by a full point. The young man must have been inspired by our special visitor last Sunday, none other than local supremo grandmaster Ian Rogers.
Andrew Bird dropped a rook late in the game and that quickly brought his position to a flatline. As usual, the state champion found himself in time trouble, but as he himself admits, his situation was already difficult.
City of Sydney 2006
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bc4 Qb6 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. O-O g6 9. Qe1 Qc5 10. b3 Bg7 11. Bb2 O-O 12. Kh1 Qh5 13. f4 e5 14. Be2 Bg4 15. fxe5 dxe5 16. Bc4 Rad8 17. Kg1 Rd4 18. Ba3 Re8 19. Bc5 Rd7 20. Qf2 Be6 21. Be2 Bg4 22. Bd3 g5 23. Bxa7 Be6 24. Bc5 Qg6 25. a4 Nh5 26. a5 Nf4 27. Qg3 Red8 28. a6 f5 29. a7 Ra8 30. Kh1 Nxd3 31. cxd3 f4 32. Qf2 g4 33. Na4 g3 34. Qg1 Bf6 35. Nb6 Raxa7 36. Nxd7 Rxd7 37. Ra6 Bh4 38. Rxc6 gxh2 39. Qxh2 Bg3 40. Rxe6 Qxe6 41. Qh5 Rxd3 42. Ra1 Rd8 43. Qg5+ Kf7 44. Qxd8 Qh6+ 45. Kg1 Qh2+ 46. Kf1 Qh1+ 47. Bg1 Bh2 48. Ra7+ Kg6 49. Qg8+ Kf6 50. Rf7+ 1-0
And here is sister Angela Song winning a fairly easy game against Robert Hvistendahl.
City of Sydney 2006
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Bc4 Bf5 6. Bd2 e6 7. Qe2 Bb4 8. O-O-O Nd7 9. d5 cxd5 10. Nxd5 Bxd2+ 11. Rxd2 O-O-O 12. Nf3 exd5 13. Rxd5 Nc5 14. Rxf5 Nb3+ 15. Bxb3 Qxf5 16. Qc4+ Kb8 17. Qxf7 Qxf7 18. Bxf7 Nf6 19. Ne5 Rd6 20. Rd1 Kc7 21. Rxd6 Kxd6 22. f4 Rf8 23. g3 g5 24. Kd2 gxf4 25. gxf4 Nd7 26. Nc4+ Ke7 27. Bd5 Rxf4 0-1
I first read about Patrick Halpin in GM Rogers' legendary book, Australian Chess into the 80's. And the first time I met him was in Peter Parr's shop, not far from the venue, some years ago. He strikes me as a bit of a larrikin yet also a no bullshit sort of a man. That bald head is sometimes intimidating. But he's friendly enough and always willing to show off his game - a win or a loss.
Against WIM Laura Moylan, Halpin relied on his old workhorse, a weapon from his youthful days - the GP Attack against the Sicilian Defence.
Most of us normal people will write in either blue or black ink. But these two combatants prefer something else entirely. Laura was recording her moves with pink ink. She said to me, "He was recording his moves with purple ink, so I used pink". Makes sense to me.
City of Sydney 2006
1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 e6 6. b4 b6 7. Rb1 d6 8. bxc5 bxc5 9. Bb2 Nge7 10. Bb5 O-O 11. O-O Qa5 12. Qe2 Nd4 13. Nxd4 cxd4 14. Na2 Rb8 15. Bd3 Bd7 16. Nb4 Rfc8 17. Na6 Rb6 18. Rfc1 Bb5 19. Nb4 Rb7 20. Kf1 Rcb8 21. c3 dxc3 22. Bxc3 Bxc3 23. Rxc3 Bxd3 24. Qxd3 Qh5 25. Rbc1 g5 26. Nc6 Nxc6 27. Rxc6 Qxh2 28. Qxd6 Rb1 29. Kf2 Qh4+ 30. g3 Qh2+ 31. Kf3 R8b3+ 32. d3 Rxc1 33. Rxc1 h6 34. Rc8+ Kh7 35. Rh8+ Kxh8 36. Qf8+ Kh7 37. Qxf7+ Kh8 38. Qf8+ Kh7 39. Qe7+ Kh8 1/2-1/2
Here are the last few moments of my date with Herman Rachmadi.
Black has just played 39...Ba5 defending against Ra1-a8. Now the simple reply, 40. Rxa5 wins on the spot. Black cannot play 40...Qxa5 because it's mate in 4. Instead of this simple procedure, I played 40. Rh1. Of course I am lost. The game continued 40...Rb4 41. Qc2 Qb8 42. Rb1 Bb6 43. Nf2 Bd4 44. Nd1 Qb7 45. Nc3 After this, Rachmadi, with only 30 seconds left, calmly considered his options. Three...two...one...zero. I could not believe it! I won on time. Apparently he thought we were playing the classical control of 40 moves in 2 hours or something. It was a terrible way to win, but hey - a win's a win. 1-0
Readers and players are reminded that there is no play next week. Apparently, the venue was double booked. And the following weekend, of course, is the Doeberl Cup long weekend. So we'll see you all in three weeks - but I hope to catch up with some folks in Canberra.