Saturday, 24 April 2010

Thailand Open

What a chess adventure it turned out to be! I showed my best ever result with 5.5 points out of 9 against average opposition of 2217. My rating performance was 2261 and I gained 45 rating points. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a WIM norm because I didn’t play against enough titled opponents and my last round opponent didn’t turn up because he thought the game was in the afternoon like on most days. Some people are joking that he didn’t turn up because he was afraid to lose rating points! J The great thing is I won the first women’s place (25th including men in the field of 108 participants) and I beat an IM! You can see the final ranking table here:  You can clearly see that my final positioning in the table is among much higher rated players. And here you can see me receiving my certificate for the 1st women’s place (unfortunately there was no cash prize for that or for rating performance, unlike in many other Opens).

The tournament itself was exceptionally organized. The hotel (which was also the venue) was great and we were not affected by any protests currently going on in Bangkok. The Open was won by Danish GM Sune Berg Hansen while English GM Nigel Short was second. I got to play against both of them in the Bangkok club blitz!! Ok, I lost to both so I have to practice my blitz a bit more J

Perhaps you are interested in what happened day-by-day? The time control was 1.5 hours plus 30 seconds increment after each move for the whole game. In the first round I played against a Ukranian IM Bogdan Borsos rated 2346 but I had no time to prepare as the 1st round pairings came out too late. However, I had no problem equalizing with black as he played a variation of c3 Sicilian that I know well and love. After a couple of inaccurate moves in the middlegame I was standing a bit worse and nearing the time trouble. My opponent had quite a bit more time and he started to play quickly, I guess he was playing against my clock. Look what happened when I had less than 5 minutes left:

B. Borsos (2346) - M. Yurenok (1953)
14 April 2010, Thailand Open 

29. f5? – I was quite shocked by this move as my instinct was that it shouldn’t work, however it took me most of my remaining time to figure out that it’s good for me and  I played:

29…Qxe5 – however, in my shock I didn’t even notice that I can win an exchange with 29…Rxd6 30.fxg6+ fxg6 31.Qe4 (forced)

30. fxg6+ fxg6 31. Rxd8 Qxe2 – I’m threatening 32…Qe3+ and Qxc5 winning another pawn. So I thought that he had to play 32. Qb8 threatening checkmate with 33. Rh8 but allowing my Queen to do a perpetual check with 32…Qe1+ and Qe5+  However, I’m almost 400 rating points lower than him so he decided to play for a win with:

32. Qd4? Rf7 – Now I’m creating some mating threats but my opponent still wants to win and ignores my threats with:

33. c6?? – it was necessary to play 31.Kh2 or 31.Qd1 at worst

33…Rf1+ 34. Kh2 Qe1 – it slowly dawned on my opponent that he can’t defend against the checkmate and after a long thought he resigned. 0:1

First two days had double rounds which caused me to be very switched on in the morning rounds and very tired in the afternoons. My game in the afternoon (second round) was against Teemu Topi-Hulmi from Finland, rated 2289. I had no problem achieving a slightly better endgame against the Slav and my opponent begrudgingly agreed to my draw offer.

The next morning (round 3) I was playing with black against an Indian IM Dinesh Sharma rated 2361. We both seemed to know that line of the Taimanov Sicilian to move 15 and then I started to outplay my opponent in the middlegame. However, he found a good counterattacking plan, turned the position in his favour and I eventually lost. That was the only game I lost in the whole tournament. In the afternoon (round 4) I was white against Manuel Llopis de Aysa from Spain, rated 2128. I was quite tired and offered a draw in a better position but it was refused. He wasn’t able to make any significant progress in the blocked position and the draw was eventually agreed on move 57.

In round five I played with black against another Indian player Ashish Dwivedi, rated 2132. I couldn’t prepare for him as he didn’t seem to have any games on the database. I decided to avoid his potential preparation by playing something I haven’t played for many years and I got myself a slightly better position on move 6 at which point he offered me a draw! I refused as I thought I had a good chance to make something out of that position. Unfortunately I spent too much time on the next few moves while also making some suspect moves. I realized that I’m messing things up and offered a draw back which was surprisingly accepted. Still, not my day I thought.

In the sixth round I was white against an Australian player Matthew Drummond rated 2244. It seems we both expected something else in the opening but it ended up being my first ever serious game against the Nimzo-Indian defense. Strangely enough I prepared for Nimzo-Indian a couple of days earlier and got out of the opening very well. My opponent never equalized but I failed to turn my position into a win even after 51 moves with an extra pawn - draw again. In the seventh round I was well prepared with black against CM Damian Norris from Fiji rated 2083 who played Veresov Opening. However, I failed to make something out of my slight opening advantage and the draw was agreed in the endgame.

In the eighth round I was white against a Danish player rated 2158. I can’t quite figure out what’s his first and what’s his last name, perhaps you can work it out? - Montgomery Jan E. Frantsen. That was my nicest game in the whole tournament, even GM Nigel Short said he liked it! I gave up a piece for 3 pawns in the middlegame and my pawns eventually proved unstoppable in the endgame winning me a point. I will definitely annotate that game for you in the coming posts. My last round opponent would have been Thai FM Boonsueb Saeheng rated 2285 but instead I was left wondering around the hall for an hour gaining a point in the process. 

I’m still in Thailand relaxing on the island of Koh Chang. I hope you agree that chess is really hard work and I finally deserve to relax and have some cocktails by the sunny pool. J I also leave you to inspect a picture of my lovely certificate (right).


Signalman said...

Many congratulations. Its satisfying to play a good game of chess, but adds even more if you win a few and the tournament !

The win against Borsos was good.

400 points is a huge difference, so to win there, is quite an achievement. Well done !

Alberto Santini said...

Good job! Congrats! :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Maria!

Maria Yurenok said...

Thank you very much everyone! I'm very happy at the moment :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria, the career brak seems to be going well ! The two Cretan tournaments in July look inviting ! Regards, Kevin Winter, Bingley

Anonymous said...


Fantastic. I knew you would do it.


Maria Yurenok said...

Hi Kevin.

Yes, I definitely made the right decision taking the sabbatical. Crete is a lovely place but I will be in the U.S.A. in July visiting my family and playing some chess.


Anonymous said...

Nice on Maria.
I knew you'd do well in Thailand.
I thought for a bit you might blow it because you were becoming too fond of the drink but my worries were unfounded.


Maria Yurenok said...

Haha! Thanks Rob :) I don't have more than one drink per evening during serious tournaments and not much more at other times. Don't like hangovers!