If I had a complaint about the RSL venue, it is that the light is a tad too low for my liking. It's not so bad in the top section, but the major and minor players must be suffering. Light comes mainly from light bulbs and with the ceiling so high, there's just not enough light hitting the boards. Even Malcolm Tredinnick, who was visiting this afternoon, quipped that perhaps the organisers should provide candles for each board.
Seasoned chessers will know the problem with low light: you can sometimes fail to see things or, worse still, see something that it isn't there. Just look at white's twenty-seventh move in the following game. It's a total stunner. But something isn't quite right.
Australian Major 2008
1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 c6 6. O-O Bxf3 7. Bxf3 dxe5 8. dxe5 e6 9. a3 Nd7 10. Qe2 Bc5 11. Rd1 a5 12. c4 Ne7 13. Bf4 Ng6 14. Bg3 Qg5 15. Nc3 Ndxe5 16. Ne4 Qe7 17. Bh5 Nd7 18. Bxg6 hxg6 19. Qd3 Nb6 20. Bd6 Bxd6 21. Nxd6+ Kf8 22. b4 Rh5 23. bxa5 Rhxa5 24. Rdb1 Nd5 25. Qg3 e5 26. Nxb7 Rxa3
White can simply now proceed with 27. Rxa3. But Jason saw in his mind's eye something spectacular. 27. Qh3?? A visually stunning move! But it's all an illusion. Sheldrick uncorks an equally stunning reply but one which has aheluvalot more venom. 27...Qb4!! 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qxg7 Nf6 30. Nd6 Qxd6 31. Rb7+ Nd7 32. Rxd7+ Kxd7 33. Qxf7+ Kd8 34. Qg8+ Kc7 35. Qg7+ Kb6 36. c5+ Kxc5 37. Rc1+ Kb6 38. Rb1+ Ka5 39. Qb7 Ra6 40. g3 Qc5 41. Qc7+ Ka4 42. Qc8 Rb6 43. Qa8+ Qa5 0-1
But some players don't need any fancy explanation. For these guys, it's got nothing to do with low light, too much light or no light at all. Take my mate Greg Canfell. As I was having my afternoon beer I asked if he'd be having one also. The reply took me aback.
"I'm off the piss. That's why I'm playing so bad".
In my post last night I mentioned Jose Escribano's lost game to Canberran Sherab Guo-Yuthok. Here it is, the Schliemann line of the Ruy Lopez. The variation is a fave of Aronian and Radjabov, but almost exclusively for rapid games only.
Australian Major 2008
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. Nc3 fxe4 5. Nxe4 Nf6 6. Qe2 Qe7 7. O-O d5 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 9. Nxf6+ gxf6 10. Nh4 Qf7 11. d4 Bg7 12. dxe5 fxe5 13. Be3 O-O 14. Bc5 Re8 15. Rfe1 Re6 16. a4 Bd7 17. Ra3 Rh6 18. Nf3 Rh5 19. Re3 e4 20. Nd4 Be5 21. Rg3+ Bxg3 22. fxg3 Rh6 23. h4 Rf6 24. Qe3 h6 25. Ne2 Kh7 26. Nf4 Rg8 27. Kh2 a6 28. Bd4 Rf5 29. Qe2 Rxf4 30. gxf4 Qxf4+ 31. Kg1 Bg4 32. Qf2 Bf3 33. Be3 Qg4 34. Kf1 Bxg2+ 35. Kg1 Qh3 0-1
Before we end this post, check out another one that I quite liked. Morris may have lost out on the fight but we do like his attacking style.
Australian Chess Championships 2008
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 e6 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 b5 7. Ne5 Qb6 8. a4 Bb7 9. a5 Qa6 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Nxd7 Nxd7 12. Bf4 Nf6 13. e4 Be7 14. Re1 O-O 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bh4 g5 17. e5 Nh7 18. Qh5 c5 19. d5 Bxd5 20. Bxd5 exd5 21. Nxd5 Bd8 22. e6 fxe6 23. Qg6+ Kh8 24. Rxe6 Qb7 25. Qe4 Qf7 26. f4 gxh4 27. Ne7 Bxe7 28. Rxe7 Qf5 29. Qc6 hxg3 30. Qxh6 gxh2+ 31. Kh1 Rg8 32. Rd1 Rg1+ 33. Kxh2 Rg4 33... Qc2+ 34. Kxg1 Rg8+ 35. Kf1 will lead to mate. 34. Kh1 Rag8 0-1
Preliminary results from round 5.
Malik - Atzmon-Simon, 1-0
Chow - Bjelobrk, draw
Yu - Canfell, draw
Broekhuyse - Pyke, 1-0
Xie - Pecori, 1-0
Goldenberg - Hamilton, 1-0
Hu - Yadao, draw
Hacche - Suttor, draw
Illingworth - Charles, 1-0
From tomorrow the tournament decelerates to one game a day. There will be plenty more time for our combatants for proper preparation. So I'm looking forward to some more exciting duels, shocked faces as they encounter strange novelties and plenty of action.