Thursday, April 9, 2009

IM Wong Zi Jing Games Recognized in Daily Express UK

I spotted this news article where Malaysian IM Wong Zi Jing took part in the Varsity Chess Match. This article was written by GM Luke McShane.

127th Varsity Match London (ENG), 14 iii 2009
Oxford 5-3 Cambridge
1 w A Tsanas GRE 2276 1/2 A Pixton USA 2462
2 b A Kangur EST 2231 1-0 Zi Jing Wong MAS 2410
3 w C Bicknell 2140 1-0 G Pinter HUN 2355
4 b S Schaper GER 2115 0-1 Li Wu 2341
5 w R Heaton 2095 1-0 P Roberson 2221
6 b M Healey 2016 1-0 M Tyomkin GER 2055
7 w Ti Chen CHN 2035 0-1 S Robertson 2050
8 b A Salputra LAT 1800 1-0 J Kourtseva CYP 1800

This year's Varsity Chess Match, the 127th edition, again took place at the RAC Club, generously sponsored by Henry Mutkin who has been involved with hosting the event since 1973.

Despite a serious rating disadvantage, Oxford pulled off a remarkable 5-3 victory to take the overall score to 56 to Cambridge, 52 to Oxford, with 19 matches drawn. 

Of the sixteen players, no less than ten were from outside of the UK - certainly a record for the event.  Having played for Oxford in three of the matches a few years ago, I'm well aware that the competition always creates a lot of tension amongst the players, as playing just a single game a year certainly raises the stakes. 

This year I was lucky enough to be watching the match unfold, and there was plenty of drama for the spectators.  I enjoyed helping Jon Speelman, who has also represented Oxford in the past, to judge the best game prize. 

Ewe reckoned this game as the winner, not for being strictly sound, but for the tremendous fighting spirit that eventually won the full point. 

The advantage seesaws after a tactical middlegame in the Sicilian Dragon, but after some mistakes approaching move 40, Black emerges with a surprisingly promising position with just three pawns for a rook!

Wong Zi Jing - Alvar Kangur
(London, 2009)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0–0 8.Bb3 d6 9.f3 Bd7 10.Qd2 Rc8 11.0–0–0 Ne5 12.h4 h5 13.Bg5 Rc5 14.g4 hxg4 15.h5 Nxh5 16.Nd5 Rxd5 17.Bxd5 Qb6 18.Bb3 a5 19.f4  A serious theoretical battle is taking place, and this seems to be a new move, with Ne5-c6 tried before.  19…a4 20.fxe5 dxe5 21.Ne2 21.Bxf7+ first looks like an improvement, and only then 22.Ne2.  21…Bb5?  This looks like a serious error.  Maybe Black thought he could win the bishop back anyway, but he had a much stronger alternative in 21...axb3! 22.Qxd7 bxa2 23.Qa4 Qb5!! 24.Qxa2 (24.Qxb5 a1Q+ 25.Kd2 Rd8+) 24...Qxe2 and with plenty of pawns for the exchange, Black is doing very well.  22.c4! axb3 23.cxb5 bxa2 24.Kc2 Qxb5 25.Nc3 Qc5  Black has a mass of pawns for the rook, but White does a good job over the next few moves in consolidating his material advantage.  26.Qe3 Qc6 27.Bxe7 Rc8 28.Rd8+ Kh7 29.Rxc8 Qxc8 30.Ra1 g3 31.Qf3 Qh3 32.Rh1 Qe6 33.Bc5 Bh6 34.Ra1 f5 35.exf5? A positional blunder under pressure - it was better to keep the tension in the centre and recapture the pawn on a2.  Perhaps the worry was f5-f4 and g6-g5-g4, but it should be too slow.  35...Qxf5+! 36.Qxf5 gxf5 37.Nxa2 Kg6  (see diagram)


Black's position plays itself over the next few moves.  There may be a way to defend better against the avalanche of pawns but in practice it's no enviable task.

38.Nc3 Kg5 39.Kd3 Kg4 40.Ke2 Nf4+ 41.Kf1 g2+ 42.Kf2!  I'm sure White deliberately sacrificed his bishop, but it looks as it might have cost him the game.  42.Kg1 Kg3 43.Bf2+ Kf3 44.Bb6 and Black can score at least a draw by repeating moves.  Since that would have wrapped up the match for Oxford, it's possible that 42.Kf2 was an optimistic attempt to keep winning chances alive, hoping to tie the match 4-4.  42...Nd3+ 43.Kxg2 Nxc5 44.Ra5 Be3 45.Rb5 f4 The remaining pawns are still too strong.  46.b4 f3+ 47.Kf1 Nb3! 48.Nb1 e4 49.Rxb7 Bd4 The finish was grim for White.  50.Re7 e3 51.b5 Kf4 52.Ke1 Nc5 53.Na3 Ne4 54.Rf7+ Kg3 55.Nc2 Bc3+ 56.Kf1 Nd2+ 57.Ke1 Ne4+ 58.Kf1 e2+ 59.Kg1 Ng5 60.Rf5 Nh3+ 61.Kh1 f2 62.Rxf2 Nxf2+ 63.Kg1 Ba5 64.b6 Bxb6 65.Ne1 Ba5 66.Nc2 Ng4 67.Kh1 Kf2 And in this hopeless position White lost on time.  0–1


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