Monday, 19 January 2015

My little sister becoming a little tiger

Before we jump to my next post about myself, let me show you one game my ten-year-old sister played a few days ago in a classical FIDE rated tournament under 2200. Her FIDE rating is still 1626, but I don't bother about it so much since I'm sure she'll improve rapidly in an instant *proud sister alert* :P

My sister, Diajeng, played Black here. The finishing part started in a common way, positional but not too positional while maintaining advantages in pieces activity which led to win some material.

                                                                       25... c4 26.£e3 £d7 27.f5 ¦xd4 28.¦de1

At first, I did not quite get her intention by playing 28... ¦d3, allowing White to play 29.£xa7. I thought she just simply missed it like what kids usually do. But her next moves showed an interesting plan which impressed me.

29... £c6 30.e6 ¦xh3+ 31.¢g1 Before entering the games of the tournament to my computer, my sister kept reminding me to pay special attention on Game 7 which is this. Now I know why :)

31... £d6!! It's looking good indeed, but after a few seconds of hesitation I decided to check it with my engine. And yes, this was the best move Houdini could show. 32.gxh3 £g3+ 33.¢h1 ¦d2 34.exf7+ Now it's already pretty easy for Black.

                                                                      34... ¢xf7 35.¦e7+ ¢xe7 36.£c5+ ¢f7 0–1

I hope this game entertains you as much as it did to me :)

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Bye 2014... Hello 2015

Another year has passed, I hope it was a good one for all of us, well for me it was despite all the downs I sometimes had to endure among these 365 days I still could end this year with a broad smile on my face :D

Hmm.... not sure what I should write on the next passage, but lets talk about how my chess went this year. OK, I haven't been regularly writing reports on my blog and I'd now like to take you back to each month of this year as a quick run-down of my chess agenda.

In this month I played 2 tournaments in Australia which both took place in Melbourne. I didn't do so well in Australian Championship, only 6/11 and lost quite a lot of rating. There was a week gap until Australian Women's Masters where I was the first seed of the tournament and being favourited to be the champion. I went clear first, but didn't perform well enough till I had to lose (again) a few points of rating even though in the end the cash prize wiped my tears a little bit.

I went to Europe for a short one-week getaway while also playing chess. But nothing really serious since it was only Blitz and Rapid events of Vladimir Petrov Memorial in Latvia. It was kinda exciting to go to this place where there was around 0 degree every day and (certainly) below 0 at night right after spending weeks in an extremely hot Australian summer (I happened to suffer Adelaide's hottest day in 10 years, it was reaching 46 degrees Celsius). The results weren't so bad. I went higher than several GMs in the blitz tournament (including Alexey Shirov ;) and in the rapid-play, although not as good as in blitz,  8/15 was enough to get the Best Women's prize. There were lots of titled players in the field, respectably GMs and IMs, it was quite surprising me seeing how average the event was. It was a good training and holidays anyway. I had some time to enjoy the cold Helsinki city in Finland before going back home.

I was a bit unsure whether to keep playing in the annual HD Bank Open in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. It was already my 4 consecutive times playing in that event so I kinda felt bored. I decided to come and play eventually and it immediately proved as a bad decision. I started the tournament really badly: losing and drawing with players like 400 points below me. But then I catch up by winning my last 3 games and it turned out to be not so bad anymore. Although I lost 25 elo points, I got US$ 100 to compensate each point loss by winning the shared Best Women's prize. Oh well.... :)

Yayyy! My birth month! There is something about this month which always gives me some positive energy. To begin the month, my siblings and I traveled together to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to compete in KL Open. My birthday was in the middle of tournament and I managed to celebrate it with my brother and sister, boyfriend, friends, and colleagues. My result was pretty average, 5,5/9 and losing just 1 elo rating. But it was a good warm-up for the real battle that is Asian Continental which held in Sharjah, UAE 6 days after KL Open. I went there with a low expectation. Although I was a reigning champion by winning it in 2012, to be honest I just wanted to get my rating up again since I had been losing it in the tournaments before this one. But God blessed me with the title again: Asian Champion for the second time. That means I already collected 2 unused tickets to play in the Women's World Chess Championship cycle.

No chess activity in this month. I was still tired from the last tournament so I made another short getaway to the land down under and enjoyed my time in a mildly cold autumn... (P.S: I don't like hot weather)

Here comes the months of chess tournaments chains mostly in Europe. It's well known that when summer approaches, you will be having a hard time choosing tournaments to play.In my case I chose Bulgaria for the second time, the country gave me a good impression when I was there a year before. I played in 2 tournaments in a city called Varna: Albena and Golden Sands Open, both are in Grand Europe series. I did pretty average in the first tournament in Varna and played much better in the second one, gaining 18 points and getting my 9th IM norm *coughs*. Yes I completed all the required IM norms back in 2010 but I had such unstable rating progress a few years after it and hadn't ever made it to 2400.

CZECH REPUBLIC! Yes! I finally went there :) My tournament went really well in Pardubice Open and finally crossing 2400 in live rating and getting my 10th IM norm in addition. I knew it's the formula made specially for me, it took me 10 IM norm to be legally an IM *sighs*. Actually before June started, after telling my good friend IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming a chain of tournaments I would be playing before the Olympiad, we kinda had a bet. I optimistically told him that I would make it to be an IM before Olympiad started or else I would buy him a Manchester United jersey. Thank God, he didn't get a new jersey he wanted :P

It's Olympiad time! I flew directly from Prague to Oslo then Tromsø, Norway. The first round was played on August 1st, I think this was the earliest among most all Olympiads in a decade where they usually started in September or onwards. Indonesian women's team started so well, we had people's attention to us by playing the Chinese team on the first board in the 5th round! But the euphoria didn't last long. We went collapsed after getting beaten by the top groups consecutively. Even yours truly missed her GM norm in the 9th round after successfully destroying her own position against Nana Dzagnidze from Georgia. A draw would have maintained the chance still, it would be up to the result of next round. In the final result we went so low to the 61st placed. A lesson to be learned....

No chess tournament, just a full month of chess training in my home country with my dear colleague Sergey Tiviakov. It was supposed to be the preparation of the Women's World Chess Championship which was planned to be held in October 2014. It's now being postponed for several months (dates still not announced yet) because of some sponsorship issues.

Another month of chess training but just by myself. I had spared this month from any tournaments for the event I have mentioned above. And toward the end of this month, I decided that I deserved another short-to-medium holiday to enjoy the spring season at you-know-where ;)

I played in one regional event representing my city and made a clean sweep :) A few days after that I flew to Doha to play in the 2014 Qatar Masters Open which considered to be one of the strongest open tournament in the world. The tournament went from November 25th to December 5th.

So I got literally crushed in Qatar Masters, scoring 3/9 and losing 15 elo. But it's alright, it was just not my tournament. I had lots of fun and experiences to compensate it. Soon after Christmas, I flew to Auckland to play in the 2015 New Zealand Chess Championship (January 1st - 11th). I had interesting days of activities and adventures before the tournament. Hope they will encourage me to have fresh mind for the tournament. Updates about it will follow afterwards.

So stay tuned for more updates. I will have posts about New Zealand and Russia for my next blog. I wish you all a better year. Happy 2015!