Feb 232019

The Aeroflot Open in Moscow is one of the strongest open tournaments of the world. In the A-Group 101 players take part, and almost all of them are International Masters or Grandmasters. 76 participants have a rating of 2500+. Round 3 starts at 15:00 local time (13:00 CET, 12:00 UTC, 7:00 AM EST) and you can follow the games live.
Aeroflot Open, Round 5 LIVE
Source: Chess News

Feb 232019

The 2019 Oceania Zonal has finished, with GM Max Illingworth and WGM Julia Ryjanova winning the Open and Women’s events respectively. Illingworth was paired against FM Stuart Fancy (PNG), and despite needing only a draw to secure first place, played an aggressive opening system, and eventually won the game.
I finished in 2nd place, due to a run of luck which started on day 1 of the tournament. I was paired against Felix Lacno (GUM) in the final round, and he needed half a point for the FM title. Up until this game he had a phenomenally good run (including the win of Illingworth in round 1), but chose this round to play a very poor opening (see game below). He dropped a pawn early on, and then got into a horrible mess on the queenside. Despite an early queen exchange, he just didn’t have enough pieces to protect his king, and I ended up outright 2nd.
Clive Ng and John Duneas agreed a quick draw on board 2, as this secured the FM title for both of them. The only other player to reach 6 points was Enofre Manuel (GUM), who recovered a bad position to beat fellow Guam player Elias Tirador.
In the Women’s Zonal Julia Ryjanova completed a clean sweep winning her final round game to score 9 points from 9 games. Rebbeca Stones (AUS) finished in 2nd place with 7.5, and Vyanla Punsalan took third on 7.
As predicted in my last post Typhoon Wutip has caused a number of flights to be cancelled, so a lot of players will now be here for at least one extra day. As compensation, it has been decided to hold the Oceania Blitz Championship tomorrow morning.

Lacno, Felix – Press, Shaun
Zonal Guam, 2019 new PgnViewer( { boardName: “game948”, movesFormat: “default”, pgnString:’1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bh4 g5 8.e5 gxh4 9.exf6 Qxf6 10.c3 Bc5 11.Qf3 Qxf3 12.gxf3 d5 13.b4 Bd6 14.a3 Bf5 15.Nd2 Kd7 16.O-O-O a5 17.Kb2 axb4 18.axb4 c5 19.Kb3 cxb4 20.cxb4 Rhb8 21.b5 Ra3+ 22.Kb2 Rba8 23.Nb1 Ra2+ 24.Kb3 Bc2+ 25.Kc3 Be5+ 0-1′, pauseBetweenMoves: 500, pieceSize: 29 } );

2019 Oceania Zonal – Wins for Illingworth and Ryjanova
Source: Chessexpress

Feb 222019

Day 5 of the 2019 Zonal saw a curious set of results in the afternoon round, with the top 3 boards of the Open being drawn quite quickly. GM Max Illingworth was a point in front, having defeated Clive Ng round 7, and other results left John Duneas and Shaun Press tied for second on 5 points (with Clive). The round 8 pairings saw Illingworth v Duneas and Press v Ng. After a few moves, I received a slightly surprising draw offer from Ng, which I accepted, moving both of us to 5.5. Then a few minutes later Illingworth offered Duneas a draw, which was also accepted. As a result Illingworth on needs a draw in the final round to guarantee outright first. On board 3 Tony Dowden and Enofre Manuel also drew fairly quickly, moving Manuel and Dowden to 5. Joining the players in equal second are Stuart Fancy and Felix Lacno, after they won their round 8 games.
Tomorrows last round sees Illingworth against Fancy, Duneas against Ng, and Press against Lacno. While there are number of possible outcomes (eg Fancy beating Illingworth), a tournament win for Illingworth and a multi-way tie for second on 6 seems to be the most likely outcome.
WGM Julia Ryjanova has already secured first place in the Women’s Zonal, maintaining her perfect record of 8 wins from 8 games. Rebecca Stones is second on 6.5/8. while WFM Vyanla Punsalan is third on 6. As the three players have all played each other, the final standings depend upon how well they do against their lower ranked opponents.
The other exciting piece of news is that a typhoon will pass quite close to Guam in the next day. As a result there is a real risk that outgoing flights will be affected, meaning that some players may be forced to spend extra days in the Pacific!

2019 Oceania Zonal – Day 5
Source: Chessexpress