I had an amusing conversation with Melbourne's Richard Voon yesterday about the whole business of allowing byes in this event. What is the point of giving free half points when you're here to play chess? In no other sport are participants given free points, he said, only in chess! My explanation that it's basically to give participants, some of whom travelled from the other side of the world, a chance to see the area was completely written off!
From today onwards, we will see the participation of another Australian, FM Geoff Saw. I met him back in Christchurch a few days ago as we arrived from Oz. It seems that he's taken advantage of a couple of byes to do some touristing. Another who's taken a bye is Jana Krivec who, no doubt, will be off jumping off a perfectly good bridge and possibly also go on a calming leisurely walk along the banks of Lake Wakatipu. We won't see her in today's round 3 action.
Smart move by Jana, if you ask me. Get in some R&R before facing off her fellow masters. For today, we are finally beginning to see some high ELO action on the top boards. Melbourne's IM Guy West sees a tough assignment on board 2 against Rozentalis, while the local fans will be rooting for a number of their boys - Garbett, Croad and Ker - who all play grandmaster opposition. Another one to watch is local junior Daniel Shen. Yesterday, it was his turn to pull off a stunner by defeating visitor WGM Alina Motoc.
So far, the arbiters have not been challenged with a tricky situation. But they did have to address a question yesterday from IM Wohl and Pablo Williams about the recording of moves. When to do it? That one was dealt with swiftly. In fact, it's pretty straightforward. Move first before you write it down. So those who read "Play Like a Grandmaster" (or was that in "Think Like a Grandmaster"?) can now forget the Kotovian prescription of writing down first before moving. But as I was live blogging, a thought suddenly popped into my head about the moving of pieces.
In blitz, am I allowed to pick up a captured piece with my left hand, say, and move the capturing piece, then press clock, with my right hand? You know very well the mechanics of what I mean.
The weather here on this Saturday in Queenstown is less hospitable than it has been over the first couple days of the tournament. Players woke up to a greyish sky and the temperature has fallen to about 18 degrees celsius. Canberra's Bill Egan, though, wasn't dissuaded from a morning walk in just a t-shirt. I ran into him in the town centre, not far from where the local arts and crafts market is being held. He was just on his way to do some shopping before getting into some real work on chess.